In March 2009, Expedition 19 commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Michael Barratt will launch to the International Space Station. Nicole Stott will then join them in August, arriving with the STS-128 shuttle crew to replace Tim Kopra.
In May, cosmonaut Roman Romanenko will launch on Soyuz TMA-15 with European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne of Belgium and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk. Their arrival will expand the station's crew size to six for the first time.
Expedition 19 will include visits by two space shuttle missions that will equip the station with the additional facilities needed to support a six-person crew. The increment will also prepare the ISS for the later arrival of Russian research modules and additional docking ports.