A Soyuz spacecraft carried Expedition 12 Commander and NASA Science Officer William McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev to orbit. Gregory Olsen rode with them, beginning a 10-day space mission as part of a commercial contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.
The Soyuz launched at 10:55 p.m. CDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. At the time, the station was flying in a southeasterly direction about 230 miles above the South Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Chile. With Tokarev at the controls, the Soyuz is on course to catch up and dock with the station at 12:32 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3.
The hatches between the arriving Soyuz spacecraft and the station will be opened at about 3:25 a.m. Monday. Live NASA Television coverage of the docking will begin at 11 p.m. Sunday.
Tokarev and McArthur will stay aboard the station until the spring, while Olsen will spend eight days there conducting experiments.
Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer John Phillips have been doing research and maintaining station systems since April. With Olsen, they will undock from the station and return to Earth Oct. 10.