The seven Expedition 69 crew members enjoyed an off-duty day on Monday aboard the International Space Station. They will be welcoming three new crewmates at the end of the week when they launch and dock to the orbital outpost.
Three future station crew members are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to their lift off aboard the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship planned for 11:44 a.m. EDT on Friday. The trio, consisting of NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, will dock to the Rassvet module just over three hours later at 2:56 p.m. First time space-flyers O’Hara and Chub along with Kononenko, who is making a record fifth trip to the space station, will orbit Earth on the station for six months conducting advanced space research.
The current Expedition 69 crew is composed of two separate crews, one of which has been aboard the space station for nearly a year and the other which has been on the station since Aug. 27. The longest serving crew, with Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Dmitri Petelin and Frank Rubio, will depart at the end of the month after living in space for just over a year in space.
Rubio today has surpassed NASA’s single spaceflight record of 355 continuous days in space made by astronaut Mark Vande Hei on March 30, 2022. At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, NASA TV will broadcast a pre-recorded space-to-ground conversation Vande Hei had with Rubio on Sept. 5 when he congratulated the orbiting astronaut for his record-breaking mission.
The station’s newest crew is in its third week of a six-month-long space mission. The quartet consists of first-time space-flyers NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, as well as two-time station visitors Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency). They will stay in space conducting a variety of microgravity science experiments benefitting humans living on and off the Earth until late February.
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