Government // Leadership
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12/21/2009
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Construction Crew Heads To Space Station

Astronauts from the Expedition 22 mission will help install one of the ISS's last remaining segments.

A three-man team of astronauts lifted off aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Sunday on a mission that will see them undertake construction work and scientific research at the International Space Station, NASA said.

The Soyuz rocket successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:52 p.m, CST.

The crew, consisting of NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, was slated to dock with the ISS at 4:58 p.m.

The crew was to join up with Expedition 22 members already aboard the ISS, including station commander Jeff Williams, of NASA, and cosmonaut Max Suraev, who is station flight engineer.

The crew has a full itinerary for the months ahead. Cosmonauts Kotov and Suraev are slated to conduct spacewalks in January from the Pirs airlock, which is part of the ISS's Russian segment. Also in January, Williams and Suraev will reposition the docked Soyuz spacecraft from the end of the station's Zvezda service module to the new Poisk module.

In February, the crew will greet the arrival of a Progress unmanned resupply ship as well as the crew of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission. Endeavour will deliver the new Tranquility node and cupola, one of the last remaining segments of the station to be installed.

Construction of the ISS is set to be fully completed by 2011. NASA plans to cover many of the mission's highlights live on its NASA TV Web site.

Crews from the previous ISS mission, Expedition 21, returned to Earth last month.

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