Expedition 54 Trio Undocks from Station, Begins Ride Home

Expedition 53-54 Crew Members
Expedition 53-54 Crew Members (from left) Joe Acaba, Alexander Misurkin and Mark Vande Hei are pictured in front of the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft before their launch on Sept. 13, 2017.

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 6:08 p.m. EST to begin their voyage home to Earth.

The deborbit burn is targeted for 8:38 p.m., and will lead to a landing at 9:31 p.m. NASA Television coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 8 p.m. Watch their return to Earth online at: www.nasa.gov/live

Their time on station marked the beginning of the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three people to four, enabling NASA to double the time dedicated to research and achieve a record-setting week of research that surpassed 100 hours. Highlights from this research include investigations into the manufacturing of fiber optic filaments in microgravity, improving the accuracy of an implantable glucoses biosensor, and measuring the Sun’s energy input to Earth.

This mission was the first spaceflight for Vande Hei, the second for Misurkin, and the third for Acaba. Their cumulative time in space, respectively, is 168 days, 334 days, and 306 days.

With the undocking, Expedition 55 has now begun aboard the station with Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos as the Commander and Flight Engineers Scott Tingle of NASA, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Three additional crew members arrive on March 23. Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 21 for a two-day journey to join Expedition 55 on station.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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