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International Space Station Crew Return Home Sunday

The five men aboard the International Space Station are continuing a steady work pace, conducting science and maintaining onboard systems. The Expedition 10 crewmembers — Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov — also have been briefing the Expedition 11 crew that arrived Sunday. 

Image: Expedition 11 NASA ISS Science Officer John Phillips, left, talks to reporters by air-to-ground on Wednesday. He is joined by Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev, center, and Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao. Photo Credit: NASA TV

They also are preparing the Station for next month’s arrival of Space Shuttle Discovery. During a televised interview Wednesday, NASA ISS Science Officer John Phillips of the Expedition 11 crew said they were getting the airlocks ready for docking and the transfer of equipment and supplies that Discovery will deliver.

“In the last couple of days,” Phillips said, “Leroy and I have been working more or less full time doing things that will help prepare for the Shuttle’s arrival.”

Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy arrived with Expedition 11 on Sunday, and he is conducting a series of scientific experiments during his stay aboard the Station. He will return to Earth with Expedition 10 next week.

Chiao, Sharipov and Vittori will leave the Station April 24 in the Soyuz that brought Expedition 10 to the orbiting laboratory. Their landing is scheduled for 6:08 p.m. EDT that day in Kazakhstan