An automated rendezvous sequence will begin at about 1 a.m. Thursday with the first of several rendezvous maneuvers scheduled for 1:25 a.m. About 2:57 a.m., the Soyuz will perform a partial flyaround of the station and begin station-keeping about 500 feet at 3:06 a.m. The final approach is set to begin at 3:15 a.m. leading up to the docking.
After docking, the hatch to the International Space Station will be opened at about 4:40 a.m. with Shepherd, Gidzenko, and Krikalev entering their new home in space for the first time. The event will be covered live via audio only but recorded on video. Video playback of the hatch opening will be shown on NASA TV at 6:20 a.m.
Once inside the station, the new residents will continue efforts of previous shuttle crews and ground controllers to bring the station to life. Their first steps in making the station a home include opening the hatch between the Svezda and Zarya modules, checking out communications systems, activating the food warmer, charging batteries for power tools, starting up water processors, and activating the toilet.
The Expedition 1 mission and station preparations have continued without interruption as the Soyuz spacecraft chased down the space station since Tuesday morning's launch. Three rendezvous burns were accomplished to bring the Soyuz into range for docking. A Progress supply vehicle was undocked late Tuesday from the station's aft port where the Soyuz will dock, and flight controllers in Houston activated and monitored life support and air purification systems on board the station.
At 8 p.m. the Expedition 1 crew's Soyuz trails the ISS by a little less than 4,000 statute miles, closing at about 713 miles each 90-minute orbit.
The Expedition crew will turn in for sleep at 10:45 a.m. Thursday for their first night aboard their new home.
All systems aboard the Soyuz spacecraft are in excellent shape and the space station remains in good condition.