Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Come All Ye Spaceful

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Mission Patches
Expedition 22 Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft December 20, 2009 to begin their journey to the International Space Station. Once there, they joined NASA Commander Jeff Williams and Russian Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev.

All the Expedition 22 crew members will be spending Christmas on the ISS!

And two will be staying on for a minimum of 6 months! Go to NASA's card site to send them holiday greetings while they are in orbit. Sadly, they'll all be away from their families this year over Christmas, but I imagine work will keep them busy, and there's always that awesome view!

Expedition 22 Crew
Front Row: Jeff Williams and Maxim Suraev.
Back: Oleg Kotov, T.J. Creamer, Soichi Noguchi.

Some mission tidbits:
- Noguchi is the first Japanese astronaut to launch aboard a Soyuz vehicle.
- Kotov and Suraev will conduct spacewalks to outfit Zvezda with the Russian segment’s new Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM2)
- Half the ISS inhabitants have now joined the Twitterati, so if anyone wants to subscribe to their feeds, see: Astro_TJ, Astro_Jeff and Astro_Soichi... and the last is twittering in both English and Japanese!

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