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Space station crew set to relocate Russian spacecraft

RIA Novosti

05:2012/05/2010 MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) will relocate on Wednesday a Russian spacecraft docked with the Zarya module to free a docking port for a new research module.

The Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft will undock from the Zarya module on May 12 at 17.26 Moscow time [13.26 GMT], move away some distance and later dock with the Zvezda module.

"As a result, the spacecraft will make room for the Russian Rassvet [MIM-1] research module which is scheduled to arrive at the station later in May on board the space shuttle Atlantis," a spokesman for the Russian Mission Control said on Tuesday.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov will pilot the Soyuz during the 28-minute maneuver.

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer will accompany Kotov while Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko, and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson will remain inside the station to monitor the operation.

U.S. space shuttle Atlantis is set to blast off on May 14 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on its last trip to the ISS.

NASA is planning to scrap its Space Shuttle program by the end of the year. The U.S. space agency says the shuttles are outdated and too expensive to maintain.

The last launch of the U.S. space shuttle Endeavor is planned for mid-November.

Russian Soyuz spacecraft will take U.S. astronauts to the space station after NASA stops launching its shuttles.

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