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Spacecraft Carrying Space Tourist Anousheh Ansari and ISS Expedition 14 Crew Leaves Earth

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, September 18, 2006

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The International Space Station's next crew began the journey to its new home early Monday. The Soyuz rocket that carried Expedition 14 into space lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:09 a.m. EDT.

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin are scheduled to arrive at the station at 1:24 a.m. Wednesday. Flying to the station with them will be American Anousheh Ansari, the first female spaceflight participant to visit the orbiting laboratory. She is flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin will replace Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, who are wrapping up a six-month stay on the station. European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter will remain on the station and join Expedition 14.

Early Sunday, Expedition 13 concluded a busy week of joint operations with STS-115. The six-member STS-115 crew arrived at the station Sept. 11 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. The STS-115 and Expedition 13 crews used the shuttle and station robotic arms to install the P3/P4 truss and its solar arrays on to the station. The shuttle crew then conducted three spacewalks to prepare the addition for operation.

Atlantis undocked at 8:50 a.m. Sunday. STS-115 is the first construction mission to visit the station since late 2002. STS-116 is the next construction mission and it is scheduled to visit the station and Expedition 14 as early as December.

The Expedition 13 crew is also preparing for the departure of the Progress 21 cargo ship, which is filled with trash and other unneeded items. The Progress will undock at 8:28 p.m. Monday. It will then be commanded to re-enter Earth's atmosphere to burn up harmlessly.

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