The launch of the next International Space Station expedition and return of the current crew airs on NASA TV during two weeks of coverage in March and April. Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer and NASA station science officer Jeff Williams launch tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST, on a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Two days later, they dock with the station to begin a six-month stay. For launch, they will be accompanied by Brazilian Space Agency astronaut Marcos Pontes. He will spend eight days on the station under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev and Pontes will return to Earth at approximately 7:46 p.m. EDT, April 8. The Expedition 12 crew will have completed more than six months on the station.

All five crew members will participate in a news conference at 10:55 a.m. EDT, April 3. Reporters at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston and Kennedy Space Center, Fla. and the Russian Mission Control Center will be able to ask questions. The news conference airs live on NASA TV. Video highlights of pre-launch activities air on the NASA TV Video File March 28 and 29.

Other broadcast events include: (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, March 29:

12 p.m. – Replay of the Expedition 13/Pontes final crew prelaunch news conference from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

8:45 p.m. – Expedition 13/Pontes launch coverage begins; launch set for 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 31:

10 p.m. – Expedition 13/Pontes docking coverage begins; docking scheduled for 11:19 p.m.

Saturday, April 8:

12:30 p.m. – Expedition 12/Pontes farewell/hatch close coverage starts; closes at 1:12 p.m.

3:30 p.m. – Expedition 12/Pontes undocking coverage begins; undocking at 4:28 p.m. 6:30 p.m. – Expedition 12/Pontes landing coverage begins. The deorbit burn is at 6:55 p.m.

Landing scheduled for 7:46 p.m.

Videophone imagery of crew activities after landing in central Kazakhstan is expected as part of the coverage. Video shot at the landing site is scheduled to air on NASA TV as a special Video File feed at approximately 5:30 a.m. EDT, April 9. NASA TV’s Public, Education and Media channels are available on an MPEG-2 digital C-band signal accessed via satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization. In Alaska and Hawaii, they’re on AMC-7 at 137 degrees west longitude, transponder 18C, at 4060 MHz, horizontal polarization. For digital downlink information, visit:

For information about the International Space Station, crews and missions, visit:

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