HOUSTON – NASA Television will broadcast the arrival of three crew members to the International Space Station beginning at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 27. Their Soyuz spacecraft will dock with the station at 7:58 p.m. Coverage will resume at 10:15 p.m. for hatch opening at 10:40 p.m.
Expedition 39 Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA and Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday (3:17 a.m. Wednesday in Baikonur).
Their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft did not complete a same-day rendezvous, as originally planned. Engineers are reviewing data to determine why the third in a series of rendezvous maneuvers that were to be conducted Tuesday did not occur as scheduled, thereby delaying the space station rendezvous two days. In conversations between flight controllers in Moscow and Houston, initial information indicates the spacecraft was not at the proper attitude, or orientation, for the automated thruster burn that puts the spacecraft in perfect position to dock with the space station.
Russian flight controllers confirmed Wednesday that the Soyuz performed two rendezvous maneuvers required to put the spacecraft on the proper course for docking Thursday, and all systems on the Soyuz spacecraft appear to be functioning normally.
Once the hatches are open, the three newest crew members will be greeted by Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos.
Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev will remain aboard the space station until mid-September. Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin have been aboard the orbital outpost since November 2013 and will return to Earth May 14, at which time Swanson will take command of Expedition 40.
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