If all goes as planned, the flight will take less than 40 minutes. Undocking is scheduled for 1:49 a.m. EST; with docking scheduled for 2:23 a.m. EST.
This move will clear the Zarya port for the March 31 arrival of the Expedition 13 crew and a Brazilian Space Agency astronaut on another Soyuz vehicle.
Preparations included testing Soyuz systems and thrusters and reviewing trip procedures. On Sunday, the crew will configure station and Soyuz systems. The configuration is to ensure the station could operate without the crew onboard; in the unlikely event the Soyuz could not successfully re-dock.
This week, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams completed final training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
The crew will travel Saturday to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for final launch preparations, along with Brazilian astronaut Marcos Pontes. Pontes will fly to the station with Expedition 13 on a 10-day mission, returning to Earth with Expedition 12. Launch is scheduled for March 29 at 9:30 p.m. EST.
NASA's payload operations team at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., worked with McArthur to test an experiment facility on the station. The thermal and pressure sensors inside the microgravity science glovebox are checked annually to keep it certified for experiments. McArthur completed inspection and cleaning of the facility.
McArthur also dedicated some of his free time last weekend to research work. On Saturday morning, he conducted an experiment that aims to improve future experiments that involve mixing fluids.
The cellular biotechnology operations support systems fluid dynamics investigation is a series of experiments to improve fluid mixing techniques and control bubble distribution for cell culture in orbit.