Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev took a short ride away from the International Space Station today. They flew their Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another.
McArthur and Tokarev left the station unoccupied for about 22 minutes as they relocated their Soyuz vehicle. Tokarev undocked the Soyuz at 1:49 a.m. EST from the Earth-facing port of Zarya while the station orbited 220 miles above the south Atlantic Ocean. He redocked to the station at the aft of the Zvezda module at 2:11 a.m. EST. As the Soyuz docked, the station was over Libya.
Tokarev, in the center seat of the Soyuz, disengaged hooks and latches holding the craft to Zarya and backed it about 114 feet away from the complex. With McArthur seated to his left, Tokarev piloted the Soyuz about 80 feet along the station and up to about 82 feet behind the aft docking port, resulting in about a 213-foot total distance traveled. Once behind Zvezda, Tokarev closed in on the docking port. A few minutes after the Soyuz linked up to Zvezda, hooks and latches engaged, establishing a firm connection. The crew is scheduled to re-enter the station around 5:30 a.m. EST after a series of leak checks are completed.
The Soyuz move will clear the Zarya port for the March 31 arrival of the Expedition 13 crew and a Brazilian Space Agency astronaut on another Soyuz vehicle. When the Expedition 12 crew leaves after handover activities on April 8, the Zvezda port will then be available for the April arrival of a Progress cargo vehicle.
On Nov. 18, McArthur and Tokarev relocated their Soyuz spacecraft from the Pirs docking port to Zarya. That move eased operations out of Pirs for a Russian spacewalk conducted on Feb. 3. For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station sighting opportunities, on the Web, visit:
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