MOSCOW, September 4. /TASS/. Russia’s Soyuz TMA-18M manned spacecraft with the crew of the new expedition is due to dock with the International Space Station on Friday, the Mission Control Center has said.
"The estimated time of the spacecraft’s docking with the station is 10.42 a.m. Moscow time (07.42 a.m. GMT). The spacecraft will dock with the Poisk mini-research module," it said.
The Soyuz carrying Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, European Space Agency flight engineer Andreas Mogensen of Denmark and Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday.
Aimbetov was added to the mission after British singer and would-be space tourist Sarah Brightman dropped out of training earlier this year. He is due to return to the Earth on September 12 together with Mogensen and Russia’s station commander Gennady Padalka.
The hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS are expected to open between 10.20 a.m. GMT and 11.00 a.m. GMT. After that the new crew will meet with their colleagues at the station.
The current crew of the ISS comprises Padalka, US Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren. Together, the six astronauts and cosmonauts make up the Expedition 44 crew.