It was a relaxed Friday aboard the International Space Station as crew swap activities begin winding down ahead of the return to Earth of four crew members on Saturday. Three cosmonauts remained busy at the end of the week, however, working on orbital household maintenance tasks.
Expedition 68 Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos are in their final full day aboard the space station. The quartet had a light duty day getting in a final exercise session before going to sleep early to prepare for their overnight departure activities.
The foursome will enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and close the hatch to the vehicle at 12:15 a.m. EST on Saturday. Then at 2:05 a.m. they will undock from the Harmony module’s forward port. Endurance will fire its main engines one last time at 8:25 p.m. on Saturday sending the crew back into the Earth’s atmosphere. Finally, the crew will splashdown off the coast of Florida at 9:19 p.m. where support personnel from NASA and SpaceX will greet them after a five-month space research mission. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will broadcast the crew return activities live.
The orbiting lab’s four newest crewmates have completed their first week of station orientation and familiarization tasks. New Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg from NASA, Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Andrey Fedyaev docked to the station aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour on Oct. 3. All but Fedyaev had the day off as they will get up early and support their departing four crewmates when they enter the Crew Dragon Endurance and undock from the station.
Flight Engineer Frank Rubio, who has been aboard the station since Sept. 21, also had a light duty day spending just over an hour on the Food Physiology study before going to bed early with his departing crewmates. Rubio will be assisting the homebound crew before their Saturday departure.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, station commander and flight engineer respectively, spent Friday working their normal shift servicing a variety of station electronics hardware. Fedyaev spent his day troubleshooting power supply systems and cleaning ventilation fans and filters.
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