The eighth expedition crew for the International Space Station (ISS) arrived at the orbiting base on 20 October after the launch of the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft aboard a Soyuz FG booster from Baikonur on 18 October.

Crew commander Michael Foale, flight engineer/science officer Alexander Kaleri, who commanded the flight, and Spanish ESA/NASA astronaut Pedro Duque - the Soyuz flight engineer - have joined the seventh expedition crew, Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu, who were launched in May.

Crew 7 and Duque will return aboard a Soyuz TMA-2 on 27 October. Foale and Kaleri will remain on the ISS for six months. Meanwhile, Yuri Semenov, the head of the Russian Energia space company, has renewed his warning that the ISS faces a "catastrophic situation" due to a lack of funds for further Soyuz TMA manned ferries and progress unmanned tankers. The Russian government has not provided the funds promised for the second half of 2003, says Semenov.

Source: Flight International