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Soyuz changes parking spots at space station, making way for new crew

  |   Nov. 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM
GREENBELT, Md., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Three International Space Station crewmembers took a Soyuz spacecraft for a spin Friday, changing parking spaces to make room for new crew arrivals, NASA said.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano undocked the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft from the Rassvet module on the Earth-facing side of the station at 4:33 a.m. EDT, piloting it around to the rear of the station, the agency reported.

They then docked the Soyuz on the aft end of the Zvezda service module.

The move clears the way for the launch and arrival of a trio of new station crew members -- NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency.

They are scheduled to dock their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft to the now-available Rassvet module Nov. 7, about 5 hours after their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Part of their cargo for the ISS will be the Olympic torch, which is making the longest leg of its relay leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February.

The torch will return to Earth Nov. 10, along with Yurchikhin, Nyberg and Parmitano at the end of their five-month tour of duty on the space station.

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