The first resident crew members to live and work aboard the International Space station arrived at their new home in space earlier today to begin a planned four month stay aboard the orbiting outpost. The crew in its Soyuz capsule -- Expedition Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev -- made contact with the aft docking port to the Zvezda Service Module at 3:21 a.m. CST while the two spacecraft were flying over the central portion of Kazakhstan to complete a smooth, automated linkup.
A little over one hour later at 4:23 a.m. CST, the hatch leading into the Zvezda’s living quarters was opened, signifying the start of human occupancy of the international complex. Gidzenko and Krikalev floated into Zvezda first, at the request of their Commander.
Once inside the station, the crew members continued the work begun by shuttle crews and ground controllers to bring the station to life. Their first activities included checking out communications systems, activating food warmers, charging batteries for power tools, starting up water processors, and activating the toilet.
The first live television views of the crew inside the station were seen at 6:24 a.m. CST while the station was within range of Russian ground stations. The crew downlinked video footage of its entry into the station and received congratulatory messages from American and Russian officials at the Mission Control Center in Moscow.
The station crew members will turn in for an extended sleep period at 10:45 a.m. Thursday for their first night aboard their new home. They will be awakened at 10 p.m. to begin their first full day aboard the space station.
The next status report will be issued about 8 a.m. Friday or as events warrant.
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