The International Space Station: Expedition 26

Earlier today, a massive Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying three crew member to the International Space Station (ISS). They will join three others already in orbit. The full six-member crew makes up Expedition 27, the 27th long-duration ISS mission, which will last six months, beginning on March 16, 2011. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the historic flight of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin -- the first-ever human in spaceflight -- on April 12, and as we near the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, here is a look at the most recent ISS expedition, Expedition 26, along with the Earth-based support efforts from both the U.S. and Russia. During this expedition, the crew performed dozens of experiments, a new module was attached, and the Space Shuttle Discovery made its final visit. Expedition 26 began last November; it was led by Commander Scott Kelly, brother-in-law of Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. Congresswoman who was gravely injured in a January assassination attempt.

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