Sunday Splashdown Set for Crew-1 During Light Day on Station

From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.
From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.

Four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are making final preparations ahead of their return to Earth this weekend. Some of the Expedition 65 crew members staying behind on the International Space Station are relaxing today while others are focusing on science and lab maintenance.

Mission managers have decided to send Crew Dragon Resilience and its four astronauts back to Earth on Sunday. Resilience will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter during an automated maneuver on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. EDT. It will splashdown about six-and-a-half hours later in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Hatch closure of the Resilience will be on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. with NASA TV beginning its broadcast at 6 p.m. Live continuous coverage of the undocking and splashdown activities starts at 8:15 p.m.

Resilience Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover are finishing packing up personal items and emergency hardware inside Resilience today. They were assisted by Crew-1 Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi who also loaded science freezers filled with research samples inside the Crew Dragon. When the Crew-1 astronauts land they will have spent 168 days in space since launching to the station on Nov. 15 last year.

The newest crew aboard the orbital lab, the four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts, are relaxing today. Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough had their schedules cleared on Friday ahead of Saturday night’s Crew-1 undocking.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who rode to space aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship, processed samples for the Food Physiology experiment amidst a mostly slow day for him. Glover finalized his science work early Friday as he collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for later analysis.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, stayed focused on maintenance in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. The duo worked on power connections, ventilation systems and computer hardware throughout Friday.

Crew-1 Splashdown Waved Off as Station Teems With Science

The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship are in the middle row. In the front row is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.
The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is in the middle row. In the front row, is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.

NASA and SpaceX have decided to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, respectively, following a review of the forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which continue to predict wind speeds above the return criteria. Mission teams from NASA and SpaceX will meet again on Friday to further review opportunities for the safe return of Crew-1. Crew Dragon is in great health on the space station, and teams will continue to look for the optimal conditions for both splashdown and recovery.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide is leading the Expedition 65 crew and will stay in space until October with his Crew-2 crewmates Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and Thomas Pesquet. Also staying behind on the orbital lab are Soyuz MS-18 crewmates Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

All 11 of the orbital residents stayed busy today with human research studies, lab maintenance, and emergency gear training as the Crew Dragon departure activities were under way.

The station was teeming with science on Thursday with the crew collecting and stowing urine samples, conducting behavioral research, and exploring how affects grip and movement. Fuel bottles supporting combustion experiments were swapped out while new hardware was installed to activate a high-performance space computer study.

Cargo Ship Departs as SpaceX Crew-1 Mission Nears End

The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews: the Soyuz MS-18 crew in the back row, the SpaceX Crew-2 in the middle row, and the four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts in the far left and right corners.
The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews: the Soyuz MS-18 crew in the back row, SpaceX Crew-2 in the middle row, and the four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts in the far left and right corners.

A trash-packed Russian cargo craft departed the International Space Station on Tuesday night. Four astronauts are also nearing the end of their mission amidst a variety of human research taking place on the orbiting lab today.

After being docked to the station for just over a year, Russia’s ISS Progress 75 (75P) resupply ship undocked from the Zvezda service module’s aft port filled with trash and discarded gear. The 75P backed away from Zvezda during the automated maneuver that began at 7:11 p.m. EDT. It will orbit Earth on its own until Wednesday night before burning up safely above the southern Pacific Ocean.

Four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are targeting Saturday for their return to Earth and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. NASA and SpaceX managers continue to monitor the weather at the splashdown site.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience is planned to undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter on Friday at 5:55 p.m. EDT. Astronaut Michael Hopkins will command the ride home alongside Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi. They are due to splashdown the next day at 11:36 a.m. NASA TV will begin its continuous live coverage at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

Staying behind on the station is Commander Akihiko Hoshide and his Crew-2 crewmates Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. They will live and work in space until October with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov who rode to the station on April 9 aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

During the crew handover activities, the orbital residents still had time for space science today. The crew collected blood and urine samples for the Phospho-Aging study that is researching space-caused muscle and bone atrophy. They are also taking note of how improving a space diet can impact mission success. Finally, they explored how weightlessness affects grip and movement as well as future spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques.

Astronauts Swap Station Command Before Cargo and Crew Ships Depart

The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are pictured shortly after commenting on their mission before returning to Earth this weekend. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are pictured shortly after commenting on their mission before returning to Earth this weekend. Credit: NASA TV

The International Space Station has a new commander today as four astronauts prepare for their return to Earth this Saturday. The orbital residents will also send off a Russian cargo craft on Tuesday evening, completing its year-long stay at the orbital lab.

The four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts have a new splashdown date after mission managers waved off Wednesday’s planned departure due to weather conditions at the landing site. The quartet of Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, is now targeting a splashdown off the coast of Florida for Saturday at 11:36 a.m. EDT.

NASA TV will begin its continuous live coverage at 3:30 p.m. Friday starting with hatch closure of the Crew Dragon Resilience set for 3:50 p.m. Resilience with its four-person crew will then autonomously undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter at 5:55 p.m. completing a 164-day station research mission.

Walker handed over station command to today Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during the traditional change of command ceremony. Hoshide, Japan’s second station commander, will now lead Expedition 65 until October of this year.

Hoshide arrived at the orbital lab on April 24 aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour with SpaceX Crew-2. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough commanded Endeavour riding alongside Pilot Megan McArthur and Mission Specialists Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet during the near 24-hour trip that began with a launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Staying on the orbiting lab with the four Crew-2 astronauts are NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. The trio docked to the station’s Rassvet module inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on April 9 and will stay on orbit until October.

Russia’s ISS Progress 75 cargo craft has been packed with trash and discarded gear and its hatch closed for an undocking today at 7:11 p.m. It will leave the Zvezda service module’s aft port and spend another day orbiting Earth on its own before reentering Earth’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe destruction.

Busy Week on Station Ahead of Crew and Cargo Departures

The Space Crew-1 astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor GLover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi, gathered for a news conference on Monday ahead their planned homecoming this week. Credit: NASA TV
The Space Crew-1 astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi, gathered for a news conference on Monday ahead their planned homecoming this week. Credit: NASA TV

Four astronauts aboard the International Space Station are preparing to return to Earth in a few days. The Expedition 65 orbital residents are also conducting space science while preparing to send off a Russian cargo craft.

There are two four-member SpaceX crews aboard the station today including a three-member Soyuz crew. The four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are turning their attention to returning to Earth this week after being in space since Nov. 16.

Crew-1 commander Michael Hopkins joined Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi for a conference with mission managers on the ground today. The quartet is working on the proper time to undock the Crew Dragon Resilience from the station and splashdown off the coast of Florida this week.

The station’s newest Crew-2 astronauts are in their first week aboard the station and getting used to life on orbit. Crew Dragon Endeavour commander Shane Kimbrough along with Pilot Megan McArthur and Mission Specialists Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide docked to the station on Saturday at 5:08 a.m. EDT to begin a six-month space research mission.

As the Crew-2 Dragon was heading for the space station about 1 p.m. Friday, the NASA/SpaceX team was informed that a piece of unidentified space debris might pass close to the Dragon spacecraft. U.S. Space Command, which tracks orbital debris (or space junk), informed the team that the closest approach to dragon would be at 1:43 p.m. Since there wasn’t time to compute and execute a debris avoidance maneuver with confidence, the SpaceX team elected to have the crew put on their pressure suits as part of standard safety protocols. Upon further analysis, the command’s 18th Space Control Squadron determined the object was a false report, and there was never a collision threat to the Crew-Dragon. The crew successfully docked to the station and is continuing its mission in orbit.

Station Commander Walker will hand over station control to Hoshide on Tuesday at 1:25 p.m. Hoshide will assume command of Expedition 65 during the change of command ceremony live on NASA TV.

Staying aboard with Crew-2 are three crewmates who rocketed to the orbiting lab aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on April 9. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is on his second station mission having served previously as an Expedition 53/54 flight engineer. This is the third station visit for cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy who was last aboard the station in 2013 and 2016. Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov is on his first space flight.

There was time for science in space today with the crew servicing combustion research gear and transferring frozen biological samples into science freezers. Hardware for an experiment supporting pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries is also being packed for return to Earth soon.

A Russian cargo craft, the ISS Progress 75, is due to depart from the Zvezda service module on Tuesday at 7:11 p.m. This will complete a year-long stay on the station’s Russian segment one day before it reenters Earth’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe destruction.