International Space Station Status Report #03-18
11:30 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 25, 2003
Expedition Six Crew

A major step in assuring the continued permanent human presence in space aboard the International Space Station was realized tonight with the flawless launch of a cosmonaut and astronaut aboard a Russian rocket.

Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Ed Lu, who will become the NASA ISS Science Officer, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 10:54 p.m. CDT. They are now bound for a docking with the orbiting complex at 12:58 a.m. CDT Monday. After a six-day handover of responsibilities aboard the station, Malenchenko and Lu will take over duties from the Expedition 6 crew of Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and ISS Science Officer Don Pettit. Bowersox, Budarin and Pettit have now been in orbit for 154 days.

Bowersox, Budarin and Pettit will undock from the complex at 5:40 p.m. CDT May 3 en route to a landing at 9:03 p.m. CDT in Kazakhstan that same day. They will travel home in a Soyuz spacecraft that has been docked to the station for six months. Malenchenko and Lu will remain aboard the station conducting a series of scientific and educational activities until October.

Early Saturday morning, Malenchenko and Lu will oversee two engine firings by their spacecraft that will adjust its course toward the Monday docking. On Sunday, another engine firing will be performed to further refine its course. Aboard the station, the Expedition 6 crew will spend Saturday with a quiet slate of activities that includes participating in planning teleconferences with the ground, off duty time and a series of "Saturday Morning Science" hobby activities conducted by Pettit. Information on the crew's activities aboard the space station, future launch dates, as well as station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/

Details on station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:

http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/

The next International Space Station status report will be issued following the Expedition 7 docking early Monday.

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