0215 GMT (10:15 p.m. EDT Wed.)
Welcome aboard! The newest residents are floating into the International Space Station from their Soyuz capsule for the formal ceremony. Also participating via a live communications linkup are the VIPs gathered on the balcony in Russia's mission control center outside Moscow.

The outpost's expanded Expedition 27 crew is comprised of three Russians, two Americans and an Italian.

0214 GMT (10:14 p.m. EDT Wed.)
The hatchway between the Soyuz spacecraft and the station was opened at 10:13 p.m. EDT following the successful completion of leak checks.
0145 GMT (9:45 p.m. EDT Wed.)
Mission Control says the final phase of leak checks is underway after a successful docking of the Soyuz spacecraft to the space station. Hatch opening is anticipated shortly. Watch live in our video stream.
Live streaming video coverage will resume at 9:45 p.m. EDT with the hatch opening and welcoming ceremony.
2320 GMT (7:20 p.m. EDT)
And now the hooks have closed, forming the hard mate of the capsule onto the space station.
2319 GMT (7:19 p.m. EDT)
The docking probe on the front of Soyuz has retracted, allowing the hooks and latches to close and form a seal between the capsule and station. Pressure and leak checks will be performed over the next orbit before the hatchway is opened for the crew to enter into the station later today.
2311 GMT (7:11 p.m. EDT)
The docking occurred as the space station flew over Argentina at an altitude of 365 km (227 miles).

Over the next few minutes, the Soyuz docking probe will retract to allow hooks and latches to bring the spacecraft to a firm seal with the station. Hatches between the two vehicles will be opened around 10:15 p.m. EDT.

2309 GMT (7:09 p.m. EDT)
DOCKING. The Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft has docked to the Poisk module of the space station, delivering Ron Garan, Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev to the international outpost.

The new Expedition 27 residents join commander Dmitry Kondratyev, with flight engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli. They have been aboard the station since December 17.

2309 GMT (7:09 p.m. EDT)
The capsule is aligning with the docking target on the station inside the last few meters.
2308 GMT (7:08 p.m. EDT)
Now 12 meters and closing. The capsule remains on course for docking.
2307 GMT (7:07 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz has closed to within 20 meters from the station.
2307 GMT (7:07 p.m. EDT)
The International Space Station will be this crew's orbital home for six months.
2306 GMT (7:06 p.m. EDT)
The closing speed is throttling back as expect. Now 35 meters left to go.
2305 GMT (7:05 p.m. EDT)
Now less than 65 meters to docking.
2303 GMT (7:03 p.m. EDT)
The range between Soyuz and station is about 110 meters as final approach begins several minutes ahead of schedule.
2302 GMT (7:02 p.m. EDT)
With approval granted by the Russian flight control team, the Soyuz capsule has commenced final approach toward docking.
2302 GMT (7:02 p.m. EDT)
About 160 meters separate the two spacecraft.
2301 GMT (7:01 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz completed the flyaround to align with the docking port. It's now in the stationkeeping hold while controllers verify all is in readiness for final approach.
2259 GMT (6:59 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz is within 300 meters of the station as the flyaround continues.
2257 GMT (6:57 p.m. EDT)
The capsule is flying itself around the international outpost now to get into the approach corridor leading to the Poisk module's docking port.
2255 GMT (6:55 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz is completed braking maneuvers to dramatically slow its approach rate.
2253 GMT (6:53 p.m. EDT)
Distance now 1,000 km, closing at 3 km per second.
2252 GMT (6:52 p.m. EDT)
The rendezvous sequence is progressing as planned today, Mission Control reports.
2250 GMT (6:50 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz is 2,000 km from the space station, closing at 6.2 km per second.
2245 GMT (6:45 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz spacecraft is nearing the space station for docking about 33 minutes from now. You can watch live NASA Television coverage on this page.
1600 GMT (12:00 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new residents for the space station is scheduled for docking today at 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT).

The automated rendezvous sequence aboard the Russian-built crew transport capsule will begin about 4:58 p.m. EDT to control the activities via autopilot.

The day's first key engine firing is planned for 5:20 p.m. and another impulse is expected around 5:42 p.m., followed within minutes by activation of the Kurs rendezvous equipment on both the Soyuz and space station to guide the linkup.

The two spacecraft should be within 60 miles of each other by 6:05 p.m., closing to less than 10 miles by 6:30 p.m.

The television camera on the nose of Soyuz will be turned on at 6:36 p.m. to provide views of the docking.

A series of maneuvers between 6:43 and 6:51 p.m. will dramatically slow the Soyuz's closure rate, ultimately leading to the spacecraft beginning a flyaround of the space station to align with the Poisk module's docking port.

After a stationkeeping hold by the Soyuz to ensure all is in readiness for docking, the spacecraft will commence final approach at 7:09 p.m. for docking about 9 minutes later. Soyuz commander Alexander Samokutyaev will be standing by to take over manual flying of the spacecraft if required.

The linkup should occur at 7:18 p.m. EDT, shortly before an orbital sunset and two days and one hour after liftoff.

The hatch opening and welcoming ceremony aboard the station is expected around 10 p.m. EDT.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two rookie cosmonauts and a NASA shuttle veteran blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday evening (U.S. time), streaking into orbit and setting off after the International Space Station.

Read our full story.

2240 GMT (6:40 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 20 minutes. Soyuz has passed out of range from Russian ground stations. All indications show today's launch was fully successful.
2237 GMT (6:37 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 19 minutes. The crew has been given permission from Mission Control-Moscow to open its helmet visors and loosen the shoulder restraints.
2236 GMT (6:36 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 18 minutes. Mission Control reports everything is going according to plan with no problems reported during today's climb to orbit.
2233 GMT (6:33 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 15 minutes. The crew is marching through the post-insertion orbital checklist.
2230 GMT (6:30 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 12 minutes. Ron, Borisenko and Samokutyaev have arrived in orbit following launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Activities upcoming over the next few hours include opening the hatchway into the capsule's living compartment where the crew can remove their spacesuits, pressurization of the Soyuz propellant tanks and two orbit adjustment maneuvers.

That pair of maneuvers later today will be followed by another one Tuesday to put Soyuz on the proper trajectory for Wednesday's rendezvous and docking with the space station.

2228 GMT (6:28 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 10 minutes. The craft is completing a programmed sequence to deploy the power-generating solar arrays, as well as antennas for navigational and communication systems.
2227 GMT (6:27 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 9 minutes. CAPSULE SEPARATION! The Soyuz spacecraft is flying free after the upper stage finished its engine firing and then separated away. The capsule is in pursuit of the International Space Station for a planned docking Wednesday around 7:18 p.m. EDT.
2226 GMT (6:26 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes, 30 seconds. The crew reports all remains normal aboard the spacecraft.
2226 GMT (6:26 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes. About a minute remains in the propulsion by the upper stage. The motor consumes kerosene and liquid oxygen just like the Soyuz rocket's other powerplants.
2225 GMT (6:25 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 7 minutes. The four-nozzle engine of the upper stage continues to burn to inject the spacecraft into orbit.
2224 GMT (6:24 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 6 minutes. Soyuz's upper stage is firing to propel the spacecraft into a stable orbit around Earth.
2223 GMT (6:23 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 5 minutes. The core stage of the Soyuz rocket has shut down and separated, leaving the upper stage to complete the job of injecting the Soyuz capsule into orbit.
2222 GMT (6:22 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 30 seconds. Pitch, yaw and roll now reported nominal.
2222 GMT (6:22 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 15 seconds. The crew reports it is feeling "great" as the Soyuz rockets toward space.
2222 GMT (6:22 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes. The core motor continues to fire on its propellant mixture of kerosene fuel and supercold liquid oxygen.
2221 GMT (6:21 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes. The safety escape tower and launch shroud have been jettisoned from the atop the Soyuz capsule.
2220 GMT (6:20 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 15 seconds. The four strap-on boosters clustered around the Soyuz rocket's main stage have burned out and separated. The core motor continues to fire.
2219 GMT (6:19 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 60 seconds. Good performance one minute into this ascent for the Soyuz rocket and its three-person crew from the Kazakh launch base. Flight engineer Andrey Borisenko is strapped into the left-hand seat, Alexander Samokutyaev is in the center seat for his role as the Soyuz commander and NASA astronaut Ron Garan is in the right-hand seat.
2218 GMT (6:18 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 30 seconds. The Soyuz is heading on course for a rendezvous with the space station 49 hours from now. The station currently is flying about 225 miles above the southern tip of South America.
2218 GMT (6:18 p.m. EDT)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the Soyuz rocket carrying Ron Garan, Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev to the International Space Station!
2217 GMT (6:17 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 35 seconds. The first umbilical arm has separated from Soyuz. The second will retract in the next few seconds.
2217 GMT (6:17 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 1 minute and counting. The Soyuz has been placed on internal power.
2216 GMT (6:16 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 2 minutes and counting. Rocket propellant tank pressurization is underway. The vehicle's onboard measurement system is activated. Oxidizer and fuel drain and safety valves of the launch vehicle have been closed.
2215 GMT (6:15 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 3 minutes and counting. The nitrogen purge of the combustion chambers of side and central engine pods of the rocket is being performed in preparation for ignition.
2214 GMT (6:14 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 4 minutes. The launch key has been inserted in the bunker for liftoff.
2213 GMT (6:13 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 5 minutes and counting. Systems of the Soyuz have switched to onboard control, the ground measurement system and the Soyuz commander's controls are being activated.
2212 GMT (6:12 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 6 minutes. The automatic program for final launch operations is being initiated.
2209 GMT (6:09 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 9 minutes and counting. The crew has closed its helmet visors.
2208 GMT (6:08 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 10 minutes. The crew inside the Soyuz capsule are starting recorders to collect data during launch.
2206 GMT (6:06 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 12 minutes and counting. The Soyuz telemetry systems are being activated. They will relay real-time data back to Earth during today's launch.
2201 GMT (6:01 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 17 minutes. Now in the launch count, realignment of the Soyuz rocket's trajectory control system and checks of internal batteries should be complete. The Soyuz telemetry system will soon be activated and monitoring of Soyuz's thermal control system also will begin.
2158 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 20 minutes and counting. Recent activities scheduled in the countdown have included a leak check of the crew's Sokol spacesuits and arming of the Soyuz emergency escape system that would pull the capsule to safety if a problem develops.
2153 GMT (5:53 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 25 minutes. The crew is completing leak checks of their Sokol launch spacesuits at this point in the countdown.
2148 GMT (5:48 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 30 minutes and counting. The emergency escape system is being armed. The system would be employed if a major malfunction occurs, propelling the Soyuz capsule off the top of the rocket to safety.
2143 GMT (5:43 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 35 minutes and counting. The three-stage Soyuz rocket will insert the 15,800-pound space capsule into a 143 by 118 mile orbit, inclined 51.6 degrees to the equator.
2140 GMT (5:40 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 38 minutes. Retraction of the two-piece service structure that has enclosed the Soyuz rocket during its stay at the launch pad is occurring as the towers rotate to a horizontal position. Several other umbilical arms connecting the rocket to the ground will be retracted at various times later in the countdown.
2133 GMT (5:33 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 45 minutes. The launch weather outlook at Baikonur includes clear skies and temperatures hovering at the freezing mark.
2118 GMT (5:18 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 60 minutes and counting. NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev were awakened about eight hours ago to begin launch day activities. They signed the doors at crew quarters and received religious blessings before boarding a bus that took the three crewmates the 25-mile distance into the cosmodrome. They donned their white Sokol launch and entry suits, met with officials from their respective space agencies and then headed for the pad. Crowds of well-wishers gathered to wave goodbye as the crew reached the rocket. An elevator took the trio up to the capsule-level of the tower to begin climbing aboard the cramped spacecraft.
2058 GMT (4:58 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 80 minutes. The Soyuz rocket is fueled, the crew is aboard the Soyuz and the countdown is progressing toward liftoff of the space station's Expedition 27 crew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
2045 GMT (4:45 p.m. EDT)
Video highlights of the Soyuz crew's launch day activities are beginning to air in the streaming video.
1630 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two rookie cosmonauts and a NASA shuttle veteran bound for the International Space Station is poised for liftoff Monday evening (U.S. time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Mounted on the same launch pad used by Yuri Gagarin to become the first human in space 50 years ago April 12, the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft was scheduled for launch at 6:18:20 p.m. EDT (GMT-4), the moment Earth's rotation carries the pad into the plane of the space station's orbit (4:18:20 a.m. April 5 local time).

Soyuz commander Alexander Samokutyaev, flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and NASA astronaut Ronald Garan planned to don their pressure suits around 2 p.m. (midnight local time) and to head for the pad shortly after 3 p.m. (1 a.m. local time) to strap in. Samokutyaev will make the climb to space in the central module's middle seat, with Borisenko to his left and Garan on his right.

For a program steeped in tradition and memories of its greatest triumph, a Soyuz launch so close to the Gagarin anniversary is a major event in Russia and a frequent topic at pre-flight briefings. The famed cosmonaut's face and name are painted on the side of the Soyuz rocket's upper stage.

Read our full story.

Rolling out to Yuri Gagarin's launch pad as the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight nears, the next Soyuz rocket is poised for launch carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-21 capsule and its three-stage booster traveled horizontally by railcar, journeying along a winding route from the integration facility at Site 254 to the same historic pad used since the dawn of the space age at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Hydraulic pistons lifted the rocket upright on the pad and gantry swing arms moved into position to enclose the vehicle. Technicians on four levels hooked up electrical and telemetry cables between the rocket and pad.

Ron Garan, Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev will ride the rocket into orbit for a half-year mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, launching Monday at 6:18 p.m. EDT (2218 GMT). They are headed for a Wednesday arrival at the space station with docking around 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT).

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MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011
The next three men headed for a long-duration mission at the International Space Station traveled from their Star City training base outside Moscow to the launch site in Kazakhstan today.

NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev made their delayed trip to the Baikonur Cosmodrome to begin final preparations for liftoff aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 capsule on April 4.

"This is just normal work. We are going to do exactly what we were doing during training at the simulators and the flight is the main exam of what we have learned," Samokutyaev told reporters before departing Star City.

The launch had been scheduled for March 29. But Russian space officials postponed the mission a few days to resolve an electrical problem with the Kvant-V communications system that was discovered during pre-flight testing.

Garan, 49, previously flew to the station aboard shuttle Discovery in 2008 to deliver and activate the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The retired U.S. Air Force colonel also logged three spacewalks during that STS-124 flight.

Borisenko, 46, is a former flight controller in the Russian mission operations center for the Mir and international space stations. This will be his first spaceflight.

Samokutyaev, 41, is a lieutenant colonel in the Russian air force with hundreds of flight hours and parachute jumps to his credit. He is another space rookie.

The trio will join the current Expedition 27 crew already living aboard the space station led by commander Dmitry Kondratyev, with flight engineers Cady Coleman of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.

Following launch at 6:18 p.m. EDT (2218 GMT) April 4 on the Soyuz rocket, the new crewmembers will reach the station two days later for docking at 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT) April 6.

Their mission coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first human in space. Cosmonautics Day celebrating Yuri Gagarin's historic voyage will be marked April 12.

"He started this field of work," Samokutyaev said. "We are proud to be in orbit during this time."

MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2011
The launch of the next three-man crew to the International Space Station will be delayed from March 29 after Russian engineers discovered a glitch in the Soyuz capsule's communications system.

Read our full story.