Russia's Soyuz piloted spacecraft docks with world orbiter
MISSION CONTROL (Moscow Region) - A Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft with a new space crew has docked with the International Space Station (ISS) in the automatic mode, Mission Control said on Sunday.
The spacecraft has delivered members of ISS Expedition 23 - Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson - to the orbital station.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, U.S. astronaut Timothy Creamer, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are currently working on board the ISS.
The Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Friday.
The ISS was successfully moved to a higher orbit on March 24 to facilitate the docking of the Soyuz craft with the station.
The TMA-18 mission is the 105th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft since the start of the program in 1967.
During their six-month orbital mission, the crewmembers of the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft will oversee the docking of three NASA space shuttles and three Russia's Progress M freighters and perform two spacewalks from the U.S. and Russian segments of the world sole orbiter.
The cosmonauts will also launch Russia's new Rassvet research module into operation to increase the number of workplaces for scientific research and create the fourth port for the docking of piloted Soyuz spacecraft and Progress freighters to the ISS.
The new module will be delivered to the ISS aboard a NASA space shuttle.
The Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft is expected to return to Earth on September 16.
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