March 29, 2006

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-3749

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(281) 483-5111



The 13th crew of the International Space Station roared away today
from Kazakhstan into orbit atop a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA Science Officer and
Flight Engineer Jeff Williams and Brazilian Space Agency astronaut
Marcos Pontes will dock to the station late Friday. Vinogradov and
Williams will spend six months on the complex during Expedition 13.
Pontes, flying under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal
Space Agency, will stay on the station for eight days.

The 162-foot tall Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
at 9:30 p.m. EST. About 10 minutes later, the Soyuz was in orbit with
its solar arrays and antennae extended. Docking is planned for 11:19
p.m. EST Friday.

Vinogradov, Williams and Pontes will open hatches at about 12:30 a.m.
EST Saturday to join Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight
Engineer Valery Tokarev inside the space complex. NASA TV will
broadcast the activities on Friday starting at 10 p.m. EST.

The five space fliers will be available for a crew news conference at
10:55 a.m. EST Monday. Reporters at NASA’s Johnson Space Center,
Houston, Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and the Russian Mission Control
Center in Korolev, Russia, may ask questions.

The two crews will spend about a week handing over operations of the
station, and Pontes will conduct a series of research investigations.
McArthur, Tokarev and Pontes return to Earth April 8. At landing,
McArthur and Tokarev will have spent almost 190 days in space.

Earlier this week, McArthur found a supply of lithium hydroxide
canisters used to scrub carbon dioxide from the air in Russian space
suits during a spacewalk. The find ensures Russian suits can be used
if a spacewalk is needed.

The next status report will be issued after docking. Information about
crew activities, future launch dates and sighting opportunities is
available on the Web at:

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: