A Russian government commission has approved the basic and back-up crews for a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS).
The new expedition is set to go to the world's only orbiting platform on board a Soyuz TMA-17 carrier rocket on December 21 from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
The basic crew includes Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer and Japan's Soichi Noguchi.
The back-up crew comprises Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock and Japan's Satoshi Furukawa.
Both crews have passed exams at the ground simulators of the ISS and the Soyuz booster.
A Soyuz-TMA-15 space capsule carrying three astronauts from the International Space Station successfully landed in north Kazakhstan on Tuesday.
The crew, comprising Belgian flight engineer Frank De Winne, Russian commander Roman Romanenko, and Canadian flight engineer Robert Thirsk, did not encounter complications during the landing.
NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russia's Maxim Surayev are currently on the ISS.
STAR CITY (Moscow Region), December 3 (RIA Novosti)