Soyuz relocation successful

by Chris Bergin

Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev and NASA astronaut William McArthur have successfully taken a trip around the International Space Station (ISS) this morning, as they relocated the Soyuz spacecraft that will return them to Earth.

The relocation of the Soyuz to the Zvezda service module is required to free the docking port of the Zarya cargo bay for the next Soyuz spaceship (TMA-8), set to arrive on April 1.

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The Expedition 12 crew undocked at 06:49 UTC, moving 135 feet away from the station, before moving along the body of the ISS, aligning and re-docking with the Zvezda service module at 07:11 UTC.

‘Congratulations, you are the first crew to dock with all ports of the station,’ said Russian ISS mission control, making reference to the crew’s docking with the Pirs, Zarya and Zvezda modules during the length of their mission.

Tokarev and McArthur will spend the rest of their working day completing station-keeping, as they regain control of the ISS systems, which are temporarily mothballed during the transit of the Soyuz, in case of any problem – and a subsequent need to return to Earth.

With the docking port clear, the next major ISS event will be the arrival of Expedition 13.

Commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA flight engineer Jeff Williams, and Brazilian Space Agency astronaut Marcos Pontes, are on schedule to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 30, 02:30 UTC (March 29, 9:30pm Eastern USA time).

A Progress re-supply ship will arrive at the ISS late in April, docking with the Zvezda module, which will have been vacated by the departure back to Earth of the Expedition 12 crew on the Soyuz used today.





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