Crew Transfers Station Control Ahead Of Thursday Return
Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, along with flight engineers
Yury Lonchakov and Greg Chamitoff, officially took charge of the
International Space Station Wednesday.
The Change of Command Ceremony took place just before 1400 EDT,
with Expedition 17 handing over the controls and wrapping up its
stay at the International Space Station.
Wednesday was the last full day in space for Expedition 17 crew
members Sergei Volkov, commander, and Flight Engineer Oleg
Kononenko. They are packing items and making final preparations in
their Soyuz TMA-12 for the ride home.
Spaceflight participant Richard Garriott also is returning to
Earth, after hitching a ride to the station with Expedition 18.
Garriott, Volkov and Kononenko are scheduled to land in the steppes
of Kazakhstan Thursday around 2336 EDT.
Chamitoff is staying aboard the orbiting laboratory until space
shuttle Endeavour brings his replacement, Sandra Magnus, on the
STS-126 mission in November. He and Fincke are practicing the
photography techniques they will use when Endeavour performs the
rendezvous pitch maneuver while approaching the station.