Two expeditions of cosmonauts met on space orbit on Monday. The one is Expedition Seven which has just arrived, and the other is Expedition Six which has been working on the International Space Station (ISS) for six months now. Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, the commander of Expedition Seven, was the first to enter the opened hatch which links the Russian spaceship Soyuz TM-2, which had docked with the station, and the ISS. He was followed by flight engineer of the expedition, astronaut Edward Lu.
The newcomers were welcomed by members of the Expedition Six crew - Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin and American astronauts Kenneth Bowersox and Donald Pettit.
Leading specialist from the Mission Control Centre Valery Lyndin said that in the run up to the May holidays, the members of Expedition Six will give over their duties to the newly arrived crew, will tell them about the work done and will officially hand over to them the board documents. "The main thing is that the Russian space equipment has worked excellently," said Valery Lyndin. "A new crew has been brought to the ISS, and this means that the space station will continue to operate." A RIA Novosti correspondent was told in the Mission Control Centre that the administrator of the National Air Space Agency (NASA), Shean O'Keefe, planned to visit Moscow on May 5th. He will meet the head of the Russian Air Space Agency, Yury Koptev, to discuss the financial questions of the further maintenance of the ISS in a working condition, as well as plans for its construction and use in the future.
The Russian armed forces took possession of one of the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers delivered to Ukraine, the Bild* newspaper reports.