Expedition 53 is fully staffed after two NASA astronauts and a Roscosmos cosmonaut completed a near six hour flight to the International Space Station overnight. Now the station residents will begin focusing their attention on the release of the SpaceX Dragon early Sunday.
Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and their Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin began a five-month mission aboard the station when their spacecraft hatch opened early Wednesday morning. The new trio joins Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.
The SpaceX Dragon is being packed with science experiments and station gear for analysis back on Earth. Dragon will be robotically detached from the Harmony module and released for a splashdown and retrieval in the Pacific Ocean Sunday morning. NASA TV will cover the release activities beginning Sunday at 4:30 a.m. EDT.