Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ISS Expedition 33 Readies for Trip Home

Making a mess in the Destiny Module.

Ever notice how things get a little messy when you get ready for a trip? Looks like that's true off the planet as well as at home. Expedition 33 crew members Sunni WIlliams, Aki Hoshide, and Yuri Malenchenko are preparing everything they need for their upcoming flight home to Earth. 

On Saturday, Commander WIlliams will turn over command to astronaut Kevin Ford in the official Change of Command Ceremony. On Sunday, the three Expedition crew members will undock from the iSS in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft for the de-orbit burn and re-entry through the atmosphere. Once they undock, Commander Ford will then officially be leading Expedition 34, along with cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin.

Expedition 34 will receive the second part of their crew in mid-December.

Unmanned Progress Resupply ship approaches ISS.

On November 1, Russia launched a Soyuz rocket lifting the Progress M-17M unmanned supply spacecraft into orbit. The trajectory of this mission enabled the craft to fly the "shortcut" path to dock with the ISS only a few hours later. The success of this mission paves the way to launching manned Soyuz capsules on the same trajectory in the near future, thus saving hours of cramped claustrophobic flight in the Soyuz craft. This Progress capsule brings astronaut supplies, and station life support and fuel supplies. Later the same day, another Progress ship docked at the station used its maneuvering thrusters to boost the ISS orbit in order to dodge some space debris.

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