Space Capsule To Dock With International Space Station

Monday, April 9th 2007, 11:55 am
By: News On 6

KOROLYOV, Russia (AP) _ A Soyuz space capsule carrying two Russians and an American billionaire bringing a gourmet dinner headed for a docking with the international space station Monday.

The capsule was to dock with the ISS at 3:12 p.m. EDT, about 50 hours after taking off from Russia's manned launch facility at Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

It is carrying Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov and American software billionaire Charles Simonyi, who shelled out $20-25 million to be the world's fifth paying private space traveler.

Once the capsule docks with the station, it will take about two hours until the airlocks open and the crew can float into the space station.

The arrival of a new crew is always a happy event, and this time the resident crew is getting an extra treat _ the gourmet dinner brought by Simonyi.

The menu, including quail marinated in wine, was selected by Simonyi's friend Martha Stewart, the American tastemaker and home decoration tycoon. Stewart was on hand at Baikonur for the rocket's launch Saturday, but it was not clear if she would be at Russian Mission Control in Korolyov, on Moscow's outskirts, to watch the docking.

The dinner is to be served Thursday, which Russia marks as Cosmonauts' Day, the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned space flight in 1961.

The crew members already aboard the station are Russian Mikhail Tyurin and American astronauts Miguel Lopez-Alegria and Sunita Williams. Tyurin, Lopez-Alegria and Simonyi are to return to Earth on April 20, riding the Soyuz down to a landing in Kazakhstan's vast steppes.