Soyuz Set for Launch; Station Crew Prepares for Space Travelers

The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft rolled out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Wednesday morning for its launch Friday at 12:04 a.m. EDT. The Russian vehicle will carry three more Expedition 23 flight engineers, Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko, to dock with the International Space Station Sunday.

Meanwhile aboard the station, the Expedition 23 crew prepared for the arrival of its new crew members while getting ready for the coming of the STS-131 crew aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov, along with Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi, reviewed the STS-131 joint-mission timeline with control teams on Earth.

After launching April 5, Discovery and the STS-131 crew will arrive at the orbital laboratory April 7. Discovery is delivering new science racks and ammonia tanks. While there, two shuttle astronauts will perform three spacewalks to switch out ammonia tanks on the station.