Soyuz gadgetry sounded the alarm as the craft unexpectedly gained pace a mere 200 meters away from the ISS, and captain Salizhan Sharipov was ordered to switch to manual control. The crew coped to a T-the craft dropped speed at once, and the docking was quite smooth, reports Vladimir Solovyev, ISS flight supervisor.
Sharipov was ready to face the emergency. The victory belongs not to the crew alone but to a huge expert staff of the Mission Control Center, the Yuri Gagarin Space Pilot Training Center, and the Energia space rocket corporation, stressed Vasily Tsibliyev, Gagarin Center head.
The new crew, Russia's Salizhan Sharipov and Leroy Chiao of the United States, will stay at the station for 180 days. They are relieving Russian Gennady Padalka and American Michael Fincke, who have been at the station since April 2004. Accompanying the crew for a shorter mission is Yuri Shargin, the first to represent the Russian Space Troops at the ISS.