Laliberte, ISS Crew Prepare for Departure as ESA Astronaut Assumes Command


During a symbolic change of command ceremony Friday, Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka handed control of the station over to European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne.

De Winne will officially become the Expedition 21 commander Saturday when Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt undock from the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft to conclude a six-month stay.

Returning to Earth with Padalka and Barratt is spaceflight participant Guy Laliberté, who arrived at the station on Oct. 2 with Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Maxim Suraev aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.

The hatches between the two spacecraft will be closed around 6 p.m. EDT Saturday with the undocking occurring at 9:07 p.m. and landing at 12:31 a.m. Sunday.

Padalka and Barratt continued packing items and tested equipment they will use and carry with them in the Soyuz TMA-14.

Flight Engineer Nicole Stott made the inaugural run on the new Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) Friday about 5:30 p.m.