New crew assumes space station duties

April 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM

HOUSTON, April 18 (UPI) -- Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin has officially assumed command of the International Space Station.

A change-of-command ceremony was conducted Tuesday afternoon, with Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin and civilian astronaut Charles Simonyi -- the millionaire inventor of Microsoft Word -- to return to Earth Saturday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

The Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft is to land one day later than originally scheduled -- and at an alternative site -- because of spring flooding on the Russian steppes.

Expedition 15 flight engineers Oleg Kotov and Suni Williams will remain aboard the ISS with Yurchikhin. They are scheduled to be joined by U.S. astronauts Clayton Anderson, who is to be launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in June 28, and Daniel Tani, who is to arrive aboard space shuttle Discovery in September, National Aeronautics and Space Administration controllers in Houston said.

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