The International Space Station's (ISS) Expedition 44 begins with the scheduled undocking of Soyuz TMA-15M in May 2015. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz TMA-17M.
ISS Expedition 44 will be led by cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. His crewmates, all of them flight engineers, include: cosmonauts Mikhail Korniyenko and Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui.
Expedition 44 patch
The International Space Station is positioned in the foreground poised to study the Earth, Sun and cosmos that lie beyond.
Two members of the Expedition 44 crew will spend a full year on the ISS — providing valuable experience for future long duration missions to deep space. The 12 Earths represent the planet's position around the Sun over the course of that year.
Four of the Earths are silhouetted in sunlight representing the four month duration of Expedition 44. The nine stars in the background represent the nine individuals who will visit and work on the ISS during the course of the expedition, including the six-member crew, whose names are inscribed around the patch's border, and the three person Soyuz "taxi" crew.
The use of ellipses and circles throughout the patch reflect a theme of "completion" or "return," as investments made in the orbiting laboratory return benefit to the Earth and its inhabitants.