The next U.S.-Russian crew for the International Space Station said Monday they are fully ready for their mission even though they initially flunked one of their tests.
NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker and Russian commander Fyodor Yurchikhin are due to blast off for the orbiting outpost in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on June 16 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Yurchikhin said he and his crewmates had to take an equipment test twice after a failure, but added that the problem demonstrated the crew's team spirit.
"I realize that it is completely my responsibility for all that problems we faced during our exam," he said. "And I assure you we are a real crew."
The trio will join Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, whose crewmates are scheduled to return to Earth early Wednesday.
Russian Oleg Kotov, American T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi of Japan are set to land in Kazakhstan steppes in the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft.