Space station change-of-command ceremony

Editor's note...
  • Posted at 11:53 AM EDT, 05/22/11: Space station change-of-command ceremony
  • CORRECTED at 04:28 PM EDT, 05/22/11: Fixing Andrey Borisenko's first name in second graf
CBS News

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--A little more than an hour after a spacewalk by two shuttle astronauts, the crew of the International Space Station held a change-of-command ceremony to mark the departure Monday of Expedition 27 commander Dmitry Kondratyev, Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli and NASA astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman.

Cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, left, hands over command of the International Space Station to Andrey Borisenko, right. Their crewmates, left to right, are Paolo Nespoli, Catherine Coleman, Alexander Samokutyaev and Ronald Garan. (Credit: NASA TV)

Floating in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module, Kondratyev handed over command to cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko, who will head up the Expedition 28 crew when Kondratyev, Nespoli and Coleman undock in their Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft and head back to Earth Monday evening to close out a 159-day stay in space.

"Houston, thank you all for great help and support and looking forward to working with you again," Kondratyev radioed after the brief ceremony. "Thanks a lot."

Departing at 5:35 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) Monday, an hour-and-a-half earlier than usual, Kondratyev plans to back away from the lab complex and then briefly halt while the space station executes a slow turn to set up a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity. Nespoli, working in the Soyuz forward habitation module, plans to capture the only photos and video ever shot showing the space station from a distance with a shuttle attached.

Borisenko and his two station crewmates -- NASA astronaut Ronald Garan and cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev -- will form the core of the station's 28th long-duration crew. Three fresh crew members -- Soyuz TMA-02M commander Sergei Volkov, Michael Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa -- are scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 7, arriving at the space station two days later.