Soyuz TMA-11M / ISS Expedition 38

SoyuzSoyuz TMA-11M is launched from Russia, on a fast-track trajectory to the International Space Station. The crew – Mikhail Tyurin, Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata – arrives just six hours after liftoff. Each of the crew has been in space on at least three prior missions. Also aboard the Soyuz is the Olympic torch, on its own first visit to space; the torch, along with the Expedition 37 crew, returns to Earth in May 2014. Though Soyuz vehicles are usually handed off to the next returning crew, Soyuz TMA-11M returns to Earth with the same crew after a six-month stay. This mission marked the first time the International Space Station was crewed by nine people simultaneously since the end of the Space Shuttle era.