HOUSTON – Two Russian cosmonauts and a space flight participant launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:31 p.m. CDT Saturday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station.
Less than 10 minutes after launch their spacecraft reached orbit and its antennas and solar arrays deployed. The Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft is scheduled to dock at the station at a little after 3 p.m. Monday.
Once they arrive at the station, Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin, Expedition 15 commander, and Oleg Kotov, Expedition 15 flight engineer, and spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, a U.S. businessman, will be greeted by the station’s current crew, Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams.
Simonyi, flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency, will return to Earth on April 20 with Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin, who have been aboard the station since September 2006.
Flight Engineer Suni Williams, who has served as an Expedition 14 crew member since December, will remain on the station joining the Expedition 15 crew. She is scheduled to return home aboard space shuttle Endeavour this summer.