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*International Space Station Status Report #06-15*
*12 a.m. CST Saturday, April 1, 2006*
*Expedition 12 Crew*

A new crew pulled into port at the International Space Station late 
Friday to start a six-month mission.

With Expedition 13 and Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov at the controls, 
the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft automatically linked up to the Earth-facing 
port on the station's Zarya module at 10:19 p.m. CST Friday. The 
spacecraft were above China near the Russian, Kazakh and Mongolian 
borders at the time.

Aboard the Soyuz with Vinogradov were NASA Flight Engineer and Science 
Officer Jeff Williams and Brazilian Space Agency astronaut Marcos 
Pontes. Pontes will spend eight days on the complex under a commercial 
agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

After systems checks, hatches between the Soyuz and the station were 
opened at 11:59 p.m. CST Saturday. Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur 
and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, nearing the end of their six-month 
mission on the station, greeted their colleagues with handshakes and 
hugs and offered the traditional bread and salt. Russian, American and 
Brazilian dignitaries viewed the docking from the Russian Mission 
Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow, and congratulated the crews 
after hatch opening.

The new crew will now transfer cargo from the Soyuz to the station, 
deactivate the new Soyuz’ systems and stow their launch and entry suits. 
Pontes will move his custom-made seatliner into the older Soyuz TMA-7 
spacecraft that will bring him home, and he willbegin several 
experiments. The two station crews will continue handover activities 
throughout the week, including robotics training with the station arm 
and detailed briefings on scientific experiments. Vinogradov and 
Williams will remain on board the station until September.

All five astronauts and cosmonauts will participate in a news conference 
at 9:55 a.m. CDT Monday. NASA Television will broadcast this event live.

Monday night, McArthur and Williams will "camp out" in the Quest 
airlock. They will sleep in the airlock, isolated from Tokarev, 
Vinogradov and Pontes, to test a new procedure that may reduce the 
preparation time for spacewalks. The new procedure will have 
spacewalkers stay in the airlock overnight at a lower air pressure to 
help purge nitrogen from their bodies to prevent decompression sickness. 
McArthur and Williams will begin their airlock stay at about 5:20 p.m. 
CDT Monday and finish at 2:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

McArthur, Tokarev and Pontes will leave the station aboard the Soyuz 
TMA-7 and land April 8.

Information on the crew's activities aboard the space station, future 
launch dates, as well as station sighting opportunities from anywhere on 
the Earth, are available at:


The next status report will be issued on Friday, April 7, or earlier if 
events warrant.

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