After hatch opening, scheduled for a little before 4 p.m., Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov, and Spaceflight Participant Charles Simonyi, a U.S. businessman, will be greeted by the stationís current crew, Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams.
Williams, who has served as an Expedition 14 crew member since December, will remain on the station providing Expedition 15 with an experienced flight engineer for the early part of its mission. She is scheduled to return home aboard space shuttle Endeavour this summer.
Yurchikhin is making his second flight into space. He was crew member on space shuttle Atlantisí STS-112 mission to the station in October 2002. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and was named a cosmonaut-candidate in 1997. Kotov is making his first spaceflight. He graduated from the Moscow Medical Academy in 1988, and was named a cosmonaut-candidate in 1996.
Astronaut Clay Anderson is scheduled to replace Williams during Expedition 15. Two Expedition 16 crew members are expected to arrive next fall to replace Yurchikhin and Kotov.
Simonyi, flying under contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency, will return to Earth on April 20 with Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin, who have been aboard the station since September 2006.