Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ISS Expedition 21 crew Blasts off!

Soyuz TMA-16

Two more member of the ISS crew for Expedition 21 took off from their launch site in Kazakhstan today. Jeff Williams and Maxim Suraev will join up with Nicole Stott, Roman Romanenko, Robert Thirsk, and Frank De Winne. Leaving the station will be Gennady Padalka and Michael Barratt in Soyuz TMA-14, which is already docked at the station. When they leave on October 10th, Expedition 21 becomes activated and European astronaut De Winne will become the commander.

Also along the ride today is Guy Laliberté, a Canadian who created the famous Cirque du Soleil entertainment franchise (you know, the famous acrobats). As a "space participant" (a Russian code phrase for "tourist"), Laliberté paid $35 million for this short trip. He will return with Padalka and Barratt on Oct. 10th.

It can get quite confusing trying to figure out who is up on the station at any time. Whereas we used to just have two astronauts up there at a time, there are now as many as six living on the station. You can always find out who's up there when you go to, click on the Missions link, click on the Current Missions link, scroll down to click the International Space Station link, and look for the box that says, "Who's on the station now?"

Or just click:

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