Three people aboard the Soyuz TMA 9 talked with the six Atlantis astronauts and the three-man Expedition 13 crew aboard the International Space Station.
The linkup was managed through Houston's Mission Control Center. The 12 people on the three very different space vehicles began their chat about 2 a.m. CDT.
"It's a little crowded in the sky today," said Jeff Williams from the station. "We look forward to having you guys on board," he told the Soyuz crew. "We'll see you back on Earth sometime soon," Atlantis Commander Brent Jett told Expedition 13.
The Expedition 13 crew, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Williams and Thomas Reiter, is awaiting the arrival of Expedition 14, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. With them is spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari. They are scheduled to dock with the station at 12:24 a.m. Wednesday.
Atlantis' crew, Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, is getting ready to come home, with a landing scheduled for Kennedy Space Center at 4:59 a.m. CDT Wednesday.
They were awakened at 9:15 p.m. Monday with “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” (Don’t Leave Without Me) for MacLean, performed by fellow Canadian Celine Dion. They checked out Atlantis' flight control surfaces and later tested reaction control system thrusters. Today they'll continue stowage activities and other preparations for their landing.
The unpiloted Progress 21 cargo spacecraft with its load of station discards undocked from the orbiting laboratory at about 7:30 p.m. Monday. It re-entered the atmosphere and was incinerated over the Pacific Ocean about 11 p.m.