New Space Crew to Launch From Winter Wonderland

The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft is slated to carry three new crew members to the International Space Station on Wednesday (December 21). NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers, part of the European Space Agency (ESA) will join three men already living aboard the space station as Expedition 30 flight engineers.The trio will lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday at 8:16 a.m. EST (1316 GMT). They are expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory on Friday (December 23) at 10:22 a.m. Pettit, Kuipers, and Kononenko will join Burbank and flight engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia. They will spend about five months in space, before returning to Earth in May 2012.