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.
Staying behind on the station is Commander Akihiko Hoshide and his Crew-2 crewmates Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. They will live and work in space until October with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov who rode to the station on April 9 aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
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.