Expedition 18 is the 18th and current expedition to the International Space Station (ISS). The first two crew members, Michael Fincke, and Yuri Lonchakov were launched on October 12, 2008, aboard Soyuz TMA-13. With them is astronaut Gregory Chamitoff, who joined Expedition 18 after Expedition 17 left the station. Sandra Magnus has recently joined the Expedition 18 crew, after launching on STS-126. Chamitoff ended his stay aboard ISS and returned to Earth with the STS-126 crew.
On March 12, 2009, a piece of debris from the upper stage of a Delta II rocket used to launch a GPS satellite in 1993, passed close to the ISS. The conjunction between the debris and the Space Station was not detected until it was too late to perform a collision avoidance manoeuvre. The crew prepared to evacuate the station by closing hatches between modules, and boarding the Soyuz spacecraft that was docked to provide emergency crew escape. The debris did not hit the station, instead it passed by at 16:38 UTC, and the crew were cleared to resume operations about five minutes later.