In an epitome of internationalism, an international crew of three new ISS crew members — NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa — launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft at 4:12 p.m. EDT (2:12 a.m. Wednesday, Baikonur time) beginning their two-day journey to the space station. They are expected to dock at the ISS 4:22 p.m. Thursday, June 9.
The new crew members will join Expedition 28 commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineer Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian space agency and Ron Garan of NASA. The trio has been aboard the station since April 6.
During Expedition 28, the crew of the ISS will welcome the crew of the last space shuttle flight, Atlantis’ STS-135 mission, currently scheduled to launch July 8. The shuttle will deliver critical supplies in the Italian-built Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module and support spacewalks by Fossum and Garan to retrieve a failed cooling system pump module, which Atlantis will return to Earth for analysis.