ALMATY, Kazakhstan, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- A rocket with a Soyuz spacecraft aboard was placed on a launchpad at Baikonur in Kazakhstan Tuesday to carry a Russian-U.S. crew into space.
NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao and two Russian cosmonauts, Salizhan Sharipov and Yuri Shargin, are scheduled to take off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 11:06 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday and arrive at the International Space Station at 12:24 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday.
Chiao, 44, has been appointed to head the expedition and also will perform the role of ISS science officer. Sharipov, 40, has been appointed ISS flight engineer and commander of the Soyuz spacecraft. Both men will spend six months on the station, replacing Russia's Air Force colonel Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. Shargin is to return a few days later with Padalka and Fincke.
The Russian Interfax news agency reported a menu had been composed for the crew. Sharipov, who was born in the Kyrgyz town of Uzgen, refused pork, but ordered canned mutton with vegetables, canned pikeperch, borscht, milk, juices and green tea with sugar. Chiao ordered canned chicken with egg and prunes, cottage cheese with nuts, crackers, milk, black tea with sugar.
The men will not drink alcohol because the presence of alcohol vapor inside the station would be an ignition hazard, the agency said.