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.
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.
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.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet arrived at the International Space Station Saturday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the complex at 5:08 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 264 miles above the Indian Ocean.
Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Endeavour and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 7:15 a.m.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying the trio will make its deorbit burn to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17.
During the 185-day mission, Rubins spent hundreds of hours working on new space station experiments, building on investigations she conducted during her first mission, including heart research and multiple microbiology studies. She advanced her work in DNA sequencing, which could allow astronauts to diagnose an illness in space or identify microbes growing at the space station. Rubins collected hundreds of microbial samples at different locations within the space station for the 3DMM study to construct a 3D map of bacteria and bacterial products throughout the station. By advancing understanding of the orbiting laboratory’s microbiome, this work helps identify potential risks and supports developing countermeasures to mitigate those risks.
Rubins also worked on the Cardinal Heart experiment, which studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue levels. Results could provide new understanding of heart problems on Earth, help identify new treatments, and support development of screening measures to predict cardiovascular risk prior to spaceflight.
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 7:05 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above northern China.
When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos will welcome the new crew members
Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 8:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 9 a.m.