The International Space Station crew is awaiting the arrival of three new members that will usher in an era of six-person crews aboard the orbiting laboratory. Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Wednesday morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.Â
The Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the station today. The trio will join station Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to form the Expedition 20 crew. It will mark the first time all five partner agencies are represented by astronauts on the station at the same time.Â
The expanded crew of the International Space Station will discuss the start of six-person operations in a news conference on Monday. The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the NASA Web site.Â
For full reports on the International Space Station, visit the ISS site.