Station Changes Command Before Friday Crew Return

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (front row, center) hands over station command to cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (front row, right). To Whitson’s right is astronaut Jack Fischer. Behind the trio are (from left) Expedition 51 crew members Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy who return to Earth on Friday. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin in a traditional Change of Command ceremony, which began at 11:50 a.m. EDT. Expedition 52 will officially begin under Yurchikhin’s command when the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 51 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) undocks from the space station early Friday morning.

Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.

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