Mission managers at the Soyuz Flight Readiness Review approved March 29 for the launch of Expedition 13 to the International Space Station.
Ham radio duo Commander Pavel Vinogradov RV3BS and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams KD5TVQ await their launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Joining them for several days before returning home with Expedition 12 is Brazil’s first astronaut Marcos Pontes.
Brazilian telecommunications authorities have granted Pontes the call sign PY0AEB for use on his space journey, and there are plans for him to conduct Amateur Radio on the International Space Station school contacts during his mission
Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur KC5ACR and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev have readied the station for the March 31 arrival of Expedition 13. McArthur, Tokarev and Pontes will undock from the station and land in Kazakhstan April 8.
Engineers on the ground alerted managers to concerns with the strength of handrails on the outside of the space station. Evaluations are under way to ensure the rails are sufficient and workarounds have been approved should a spacewalk be necessary.
Image above: From left, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, Brazilian astronaut Marcos Pontes and Flight Engineer Jeffrey Williams pose for the media during a tour of the Soyuz assembly building at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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