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ISS crews to be increased from 3 to 6 people by 2009

RIA Novosti

11/05/2007 16:36 ZVYOZDNY GORODOK (Moscow Region), May 11 (RIA Novosti) - Crews on the International Space Station will be increased from the current number of three up to six people by 2009, a senior official with the Russian Space Agency said Friday.

"ISS crews will be increased to six people by 2009 and the station will go into full operation," Alexei Krasnov, the head of the agency's department for manned flights, said at the welcome ceremony for the 14th ISS crew.

The crew returned to Earth April 21 after seven months onboard the ISS. Apart from Russian Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin and Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria from the United States, the 14th crew also includes the fifth space tourist and software billionaire, Hungarian-born American Charles Simonyi.

The current ISS crew consists of Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov, both from Russia, who will spend 189 days at the station and will conduct three spacewalks, one in U.S.-made spacesuits and the other two in Russian-made outfits.

The third crewmember, U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams, who replaced the European Space Agency's German astronaut Thomas Reiter in December 2006, will stay on board the ISS for a further several months.

They will later be joined by astronaut Clayton Anderson, who will arrive on board the space shuttle Endeavor June 28, and Daniel Tani, who will be carried to the ISS by the space shuttle Discovery, scheduled for lift off September 7.

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