The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft that first launched and arrived to the International Space Station April 9 has now successfully relocated with its crew aboard from the station’s Earth-facing Rassvet module to the “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module. The spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, commander of the Soyuz, and Pyotr Dubrov along with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, docked at 9:04 a.m. EDT.
It is the first time a spacecraft has attached to the new Nauka module, which arrived at the station in July, and is the 20th Soyuz port relocation in station history and the first since March 2021.
The relocation frees the Rassvet port for the arrival October 5 of another Soyuz spacecraft, designated Soyuz MS-19, which will carry Soyuz commander and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild.
Vande Hei and Dubrov are scheduled to remain aboard the station until March 2022. At the time of his return, Vande Hei will have set the record for the longest single spaceflight for an American. Novitskiy, Shipenko, and Peresild are scheduled to return to Earth in October aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.
For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.