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Expedition 14’s Space Station Crew Shuffle

Next ISS Crew, Space Tourist Ready for Flight
ISS Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria (left), and flight engineers Sunita Williams (center) and Mikhail Tyurin pose for a crew portrait. Not pictured is ISS flight engineer Thomas Reiter, who is already aboard the space station with the Expedition 13 crew. Williams will replace Reiter in December 2006. (Image credit: NASA.)

Expedition 14 Crew Stats

Find out more about the ISS Expedition 14 Crew:Commander: Michael Lopez-Alegria
Flight Engineer: Mikhail Tyurin
Flight Engineer: Thomas Reiter
Flight Engineer: Sunita Williams

Williams,too, will stay on to join the Expedition 15 mission after Lopez-Alegria andTyurin return to Earth in March 2007.

"I think I'mgoing to be very lucky to be up there with Expedition 14 first and then withExpedition 15 later on," Williams told reporters in a preflight interview,adding that the next ISS crew will include two Russian cosmonauts and she isnot completely fluent in the Russian language. "I feel a little bit intimidatedby the language, so it will be nice to have that initial time onboard."

Reiter, whomade the shift between Expedition13 and Expedition 14 crews recently, said there is an advantage in swappingout astronauts in stages.

"In previous years this handover period was always a kind ofcritical time because there is a lot to do in these few days when both crewsare still on station," Reiter said in a NASA interview. "The crew that has beenon station needs to explain to the newcomers how all the on board systems areconfigured, where things are stowed and so forth. Once they are gone the only,only place they can ask is the control center."

Butwhen at least one ISS astronaut remains behind during a crew swap, the newstation residents have nearby source of information to tap as questions arise,Reiter said.

"I'm totallyecstatic because of the reality that this is getting a little bit closer,"Williams said of her spaceflight.

  • GALLERY: Launch Day for Expedition 14 Crew, Anousheh Ansari
  • GALLERY: Anousheh Ansari Prepares for Launch
  • Anousheh Ansari: First Female Private Space 'Explorer' Visits ISS
  • Complete Coverage: ISS Expedition 14

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.