New Crew Begins First Week Aboard Station

The Soyuz MS-03 Spacecraft
The newly-docked Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is next to one of the Cygnus’ round Ultraflex solar arrays in the left foreground. The Cygnus cargo craft departed the station two days after the Soyuz arrived.

Three new crew members are in their first week aboard the International Space Station. They joined the Expedition 50 crew Saturday bringing the occupancy of the orbital lab to six humans.

The two U.S. astronauts, three cosmonauts and one French astronaut are getting ready for Thanksgiving in space. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is beginning her third station mission and will spend the traditional U.S. holiday orbiting above the Earth for the third time.

Meanwhile, new crew members Whitson, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and first time space-flyer Thomas Pesquet and are familiarizing themselves with their home on orbit where they will live for the next six months. Whitson was last onboard the station during Expedition 16 in 2008 before Japan’s Kibo lab module had been delivered and the final solar arrays had been installed.

Whitson spent several hours repairing the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) today, one of two functional toilets aboard the station. She replaced several components after a leak was detected in the WHC on Monday.

Novitskiy’s previous mission was Expedition 34 which ended in 2013. Pesquet is on his first spaceflight and is the fourth astronaut from France to visit the space station.

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