All systems remain go for a return to Earth Monday for
the seventh International Space Station crew, as recent solar
activity levels are not anticipated to pose a concern. The
solar flare activity should not affect Space Station
operations or be harmful to the crew.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Ed Lu
will undock from the orbiting complex Monday at 6:18 p.m.
EST. They will fire the descent engines aboard their Russian
Soyuz spacecraft at about 8:47 p.m. EST and land in
Kazahkstan at approximately 9:41 p.m. EST.

Flight controllers in the U.S. and Russia have been closely
monitoring the predicted effects of recent solar activity and
anticipate no change to any of the landing plans. NASA flight
control personnel have determined no additional radiation
exposure to the Space Station crew is expected as a result of
the solar activity.

“As part of our normal support of International Space Station
operations, we continually monitor solar activity levels,”
said Mike Golightly, Manager of the Space Radiation Analysis
Group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. “To date the
recent eruptions, or coronal mass ejections, have not
resulted in any additional radiation exposure to the crew,
nor is any increase expected from these events,” he said.

Increased solar activity is forecast for the next few weeks,
and the control team will continue to monitor the progress of
events with support from the NOAA Space Environment Center,
Golightly added. Lu and Malenchenko have been in space since
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