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New Station Crew Launches From Baikonur


Commander William McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, the 12th 
international space station crew, launched aboard their Soyuz TMA 
spacecraft at 11:55 p.m. EDT Friday to begin a 182-day stay in space.

Their Soyuz TMA capsule reached orbit a little less than nine minutes 
after liftoff. Russian flight controllers reported the spacecraft’s 
solar arrays had deployed as scheduled, and that all appeared normal.

The Soyuz TMA is scheduled to dock with the station at 1:32 a.m. EDT on 
Oct. 3.

With the Expedition 12 crew was American Greg Olsen, the third private 
citizen in space. He is flying under a contract with the Russian Federal 
Space Agency. He will spend about eight days on the station.

Olsen will conduct scientific experiments on the station, and then 
return to Earth with Expedition 11. That crew, Commander Sergei Krikalev 
and NASA Science Officer John Phillips, has been on the orbiting 
laboratory since April.

They will undock Oct. 10 in the Soyuz TMA that brought them to the 
station April 16. Landing is scheduled for 9:08 p.m. EDT that day in the 
steppes of Kazakhstan, winding up their 180-day increment.

McArthur, 54, a retired Army colonel, is a veteran of three shuttle 
flights, including one to the station and one to the Russian space 
station Mir. Tokarev, 52, a colonel in the Russian Air Force, is a 
veteran of one spaceflight, to the international space station aboard a 
space shuttle.

Just after they board the station, they will receive a safety briefing 
and then begin extensive handover briefings from their Expedition 11 
predecessors. They will get training on the station's Canadarm2 and on 
systems and experiments on the station.

During their stay on the station McArthur and Tokarev will do two or 
three spacewalks. The first, from the Quest airlock in U.S. spacesuits, 
is planned for early November. Tasks include installation of a camera 
group and retrieval of the station's floating potential probe.

That will be McArthur's third spacewalk and the first for Tokarev.

About two weeks later the crewmembers will board their Soyuz spacecraft 
and move it from the Pirs docking compartment to a docking port on the 
Zarya module. That will clear the Pirs for use of its airlock in a 
spacewalk using Russian Orlan suits in December.

That spacewalk will focus on retrieving scientific experiments and 
photography of a micrometeoroid monitoring system and the Soyuz descent 
module's multilayer insulation.

A third spacewalk early next year in U.S. spacesuits is under consideration.

McArthur and Tokarev also are scheduled to welcome an unpiloted Progress 
cargo craft to the station, just in time for Christmas. That Progress 
will bring fuel, equipment, supplies, water, oxygen and air to the 
station. Docking is planned for Dec. 23.

Station maintenance will occupy considerable time. They will continue 
scientific investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory, as well as a 
program of scientific education activities and Earth observations.

Their replacements, the 13th crew of the station, are scheduled to 
arrive in March.
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