Soyuz docks with International Space Station
On 17 April 2005 a Soyuz spacecraft, carrying a three-man international crew, successfully docked with the International Space Station at 6:20 Moscow time (4:20 CEST), two days after the launch.
The docking operation was done on schedule and the crew – Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, John Phillips of the United States and Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori – safely entered the International Space Station (ISS) after opening the hatch.
Present at the press conference held after the docking were Mr Moiseev, Deputy Head of Roscosmos; Mr Anfimov, Head of TsNIIMASH; Mr Tsibliev, Head of Gagarin Cosmonaut Trainig Centre; Mr Gregory, Deputy Administrator of NASA; Mr Sacotte, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, General Ruggiero, of the Italian Ministry of Defence and Mr Bettarini, Minister of the Italian region of Lazio. All expressed their satisfaction with the successful docking.
The hatch opened at 8:45 Moscow time (6:45 CEST) enabling the Expedition 11 crew to enter the ISS. Leroy Chiao, Commander of ISS crew Expedition 10, presented the new crew with an offering of bread and salt served on a small tray.
“This is an old Russian tradition that goes back to the days of the Mir station. The 'masters of the house' had spent a long time in orbit and showed their hospitality by offering bread and salt to the new crew,” said a representative of TsOUP.
Daniel Sacotte was the first to congratulate the crew on behalf of the Europeans present. “I know you have already performed a navigation experiment during your flight to ISS,” he said to Vittori.
When asked how he was feeling Vittori replied, "I’m very proud that the Italian and European flag have flown in space for the second time. Thank you to everyone that has made this mission possible."
Roberto Vittori, with the Crew Commander Leroy Chiao of Expedition 10 and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, will leave the ISS on 25 April 2005. During his stay on the ISS Vittori will perform a number of experiments in the fields of human psychology, biology, technology and education.