Three International Space Station astronauts reparked their Soyuz crew transport capsule on Nov. 1, opening a docking port on the orbiting science lab for the anticipated arrival next week of U.S., Russian and Japanese crewmembers.
The 21-min. Soyuz TMA-09M maneuver concluded at 4:54 a.m. EDT, as ISS commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg and the European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano redocked at the Russian segment Zvezda module.
The Zvezda module docking port was opened early Oct. 28 with the departure of the ESA’s ATV-4 resupply capsule.
The redocking opened the Rassvet berthing port for the Soyuz TMA-11M capsule that is expected to launch and dock Nov. 6-7 with a crew of Mikhail Tyurin, Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata, accompanied by a symbolic Olympic torch.
The newcomers are to begin their six-month mission by presenting the unlit torch commemorating the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, to ISS cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy for a Nov. 9 spacewalk.
The torch will venture outside the station briefly during an excursion devoted primarily to external preparations of the Russian segment for the arrival of the Multi-Purpose Laboratory Module.
Late Nov. 10, the TMA-09M is scheduled to descend to Earth with Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano as well as the commemorative torch.
The TMA-09M trio, ending a 5 1⁄2-month expedition, launched and docked at Rassvet on May 29.
The space torch will be make its way to Sochi, where it will be used to light the Olympic flame for the Feb. 7 opening of the Winter Games.