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Space station Expedition 16 crew approved - commission

STAR CITY (Moscow region), September 20 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian space flight commission has approved the members of the main and reserve crews for the 16th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Thursday.

The main crew members, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, are scheduled for take-off October 10 aboard Soyuz TMA-11, together with Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian astronaut.

Shukor will spend 10 days at the ISS, and return to Earth in late October with the Russian members of the previous expedition - Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov.

Malenchenko and Whitson will be joined later at the ISS by new Flight Engineer Daniel Tani, arriving with the Discovery STS-120 mission, which is scheduled for launch on October 20.

Whitson is set to become the first female commander of an ISS expedition. She will spend around six months in space.

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