Thursday, June 09, 2011

Space Station crew doubles to six

Three smiling crew members floated into the International Space Station around 8:30 p.m. today to double its Expedition 28 crew.

NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa began a five-and-a-half month stay by exchanging hugs with the three Expedition 28 crewmates awaiting their arrival: American Ron Garan and Russians Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev.

The full station complement of six then gathered in a Russian module for congratulatory calls from leaders of three nations' space agencies and a procession of family members at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow.

"We're very eager to have you back to share in all that you've been through in this great mission," said Fossum's wife Melanie. "Go with our blessing and God's protection. I love you."

"Love you, hon," Fossum replied. "You guys have the hard jobs standing on the sidelines and watching us take off and do this, so thank you very much and God bless."

Fossum's arrival reunited him with Garan, with whom he flew a shuttle mission in 2008. The pair will team up for a spacewalk during Atlantis' visit.

"We got the band back together," said Fossum.

The flight is the third for Fossum, a veteran of two shuttle flights; the second for Volkov, a second-generation cosmonaut who commanded the station in 2008; and the first for Furukawa.

Their first hours on station came during the 66th day in space for Garan, Borisenko and Samokutyaev, who will depart in September.

Fossum will then take command of Expedition 29 before heading home in November.

1 comment:

Kristina said...

We are proud of you. Thank you, Astronauts and Cosmonauts. Come home safe. God bless you.