A multinational crew plans to rocket to the International Space Station this week, fully staffing the outpost before the arrival early next year of the first commercial spaceship to visit the complex.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will be at the controls when a Soyuz FG rocket blasts off early Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Flying with him: U.S. astronaut Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency.
The trio will arrive at the station Friday, joining U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank and two Russian cosmonauts: Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov.
You can watch the launch live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage beginning at 7:30 a.m. EST Wednesday. Liftoff is set for 8:16 a.m. EST.
Read all about the 30th expedition to the International Space Station HERE.
ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the Associated Press photo of U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, center, and Netherlands' astronaut Andre Kuipers, members of the next mission to the International Space Station. The three posed for photographers after a news conference in the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome earlier today. Photo credit: AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky.