The numbering sequence of expeditions was modified to reflect the start of six-person crews.
The update to the expedition numbering begins with the docking of a Soyuz spacecraft in May 2009. That Soyuz will mark the beginning of six-person crew operations. From that point forward, expeditions will end with the undocking of a Soyuz. The expedition number will change every two to four months as new crew members arrive and depart.
The arrangement emphasizes that every six-person crew living on the station is a cohesive team. A crew member typically will stay about six months and be part of two expeditions. In addition to the Russian Soyuz, the space shuttle will continue to provide transportation for station crew members through mission STS-129, targeted for the fall of 2009.
With the departure of a Soyuz, command of the station will be handed over to a crew member remaining aboard, and the next expedition will begin. Specific backup crew members will not be announced because of the streamlined training flow for six-person crews. If needed, backups can be selected from subsequent crews in training.