Friday, December 23, 2011

Soyuz Set For Final Approach To Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft is flying around the International Space Station and now is lining up for a final approach and docking, marking the arrival of a new multinational crew.

"Everything has been going very smoothly," NASA flight commentator Rob Navias said from the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev outside Moscow.

"Everything has been going by the book."

The final approach and docking are being broadcast live on NASA TV. Click the NASA TV box on the right to activate our NASA TV viewer. Docking is slated for 10:22 a.m. EST.

A hatch-opening and welcome ceremony is scheduled at 1 p.m. EST. Live coverage of that event will begin at 12:45 p.m.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko is at the controls of the Soyuz, which is making an automated approach. Seated on either side of him are U.S. astronaut Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency.

Two Russian cosmonauts -- Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov -- are inside the Russian Zvezda Service Module, ready to take manual control of the Soyuz if necessary. U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank is onboard with them.

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