MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Soyuz TMA-12 delivery vehicle has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) delivering two Russian crew members and South Korea's first astronaut, Russia's Mission Control said on Thursday.
Expedition 17 comprises, Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, who will spend six months on board the orbital station, while Yi So-yeon, a biotechnology engineer, will be in orbit for only ten days.
During their stay on the ISS, the new crew will monitor docking with several space shuttles and cargo craft, move the Soyuz TMA-12 from the Zarya module to the Zvezda module on the Russian segment of the orbital station, and conduct at least one spacewalk.
Their scientific research program will consist of over 45 experiments, including studies into the growth of proteins and polymers, forecasting earthquakes, and the influence of space on various life forms, including human beings.
Yi So-yeon, 29, who is the 155th person to visit the ISS, will conduct 18 research and educational experiments.
"Over eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of payload will be delivered to Earth after the experiments," Vitaly Lopota, president of Russia's Space and Rocket Corporation Energia, said.
Last week, Europe's first space freighter, Jules Verne, delivered over 7.5 metric tons of supplies to support the operation on the orbital station for another six months.
Members of the current 16th expedition, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, will return to Earth with Yi So-yeon in the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft on April 19, while Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman will join Expedition 17.