Departing Russian Trio Says Farewell to Station Crew

(From left) Spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are pictured moments before entering the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
(From left) Spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are pictured moments before entering the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

At 4:41 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, Russian actress Yulia Peresild, and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko are scheduled to undock in the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft at 9:14 p.m.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 9 p.m.; the coverage will include a replay of hatch closure. Coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing begins at 11:15 p.m. Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.

When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 66 will formally begin aboard the station. Remaining aboard the orbiting outpost will be commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Covers Russian Trio Leaving Station for Earth

(From left) Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild are returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
(From left) Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild are returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app as Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko prepare to return to Earth from the International Space Station.

The trio will bid farewell to the Expedition 65 crew at 4:35 p.m. EDT and later will close the hatch to their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft around 5:45 p.m. to begin the journey back to Earth. They will undock from the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:14 p.m., heading for a parachute-assisted landing at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17, on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

Coverage of the farewells will be followed by undocking coverage at 9 p.m. that will include a replay of hatch closure, with coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 11:15 p.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Work and Station Attitude Update Before Soyuz Crew Departure

A aurora vividly streams over the Earth as the station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.
A aurora vividly streams over the Earth as the station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.

Three Russian inhabitants of the International Space Station are preparing to depart for Earth on Saturday night. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew worked on a variety of life science activities as well as important orbital plumbing duties on Friday.

Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship will return to Earth just after midnight Eastern time on Sunday with Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko. They will undock from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. EDT. Next, they will soar through the atmosphere in the Soyuz descent module. Finally, the Soyuz parachutes will deploy above Kazakhstan bringing the trio to a safe landing at 12:36 a.m. Sunday (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Novitskiy spent Friday wrapping up packing station hardware, science experiments and personal items inside the Soyuz vehicle. The three-time station resident from Roscosmos also tested the lower body negative pressure suit that may help him more quickly adjust to gravity after returning to Earth.

Meanwhile, science and maintenance continued as usual aboard the orbital lab. The crew members had a busy schedule on their hands today working on vein scans, orbital plumbing, and microbial analysis.

Station Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) scanned the leg, neck and heart veins of Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration during the morning using an ultrasound device. Doctors on the ground assisted the duo in real time for the Vascular Aging study that is exploring why astronaut’s veins show accelerated aging characteristics after a long-term space mission.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei worked throughout the day configuring the station’s new toilet located in the Tranquility module. Kimbrough also performed simulated robotic maneuvers for a cognition test, while Vande Hei worked on a CubeSat deployer before transferring cargo inside the Cygnus space freighter. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur spent the afternoon inside the U.S. Quest airlock installing a deck panel.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov partnered together for a microbial study in the station’s Russian segment during the afternoon. The duo collected and stowed samples of microbes living on the station for further analysis.

At 5:02 a.m. EDT today, Russian flight controllers conducted a scheduled thruster firing test on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft that is scheduled to return to Earth Saturday night with three crew members aboard. The thruster firing unexpectedly continued after the end of the test window, resulting in a loss of attitude control for the International Space Station at 5:13 a.m. Within 30 minutes, flight controllers regained attitude control of the space station, which is now in a stable configuration. The crew was awake at the time of the event and was not in any danger.

Flight controllers are continuing to evaluate data on the station’s brief attitude change due to the thruster firing. NASA and Roscosmos are collaborating to understand the root cause.

Coverage of the Soyuz MS-18 crew’s farewells, undocking, and landing will air live on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app at the following times tomorrow (all EDT):

  • 4:15 p.m. – Farewells (at about 4:35 p.m.)
  • 9 p.m. – Soyuz undocking and a replay of hatch closure (undocking at 9:14 p.m.)
  • 11:15 p.m. – Deorbit burn (11:42 p.m.) and landing (12:36 a.m.)

Russian Trio Nears Departure, Rest of Crew Busy with Research, Lab Upkeep

The ten station inhabitants are gathered together in the Unity module for a meal and a portrait. In the front row (from left) are, Mark Vande Hei, Klim Shipenko, Pyotr Dubrov, and Megan McArthur. In the back row (from left) are, Akihiko Hoshide, Anton Shkaplerov, Thomas Pesquet, Yulia Peresild, Oleg Novitskiy, and Shane Kimbrough.
The ten station inhabitants are gathered together in the Unity module for a meal and a portrait. In the front row (from left) are, Mark Vande Hei, Klim Shipenko, Pyotr Dubrov, and Megan McArthur. In the back row (from left) are, Akihiko Hoshide, Anton Shkaplerov, Thomas Pesquet, Yulia Peresild, Oleg Novitskiy, and Shane Kimbrough.

A veteran cosmonaut will soon lead two Russian spaceflight participants on a ride through Earth’s atmosphere to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan this weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew stayed focused on a multitude of science, cargo, and maintenance activities throughout Thursday.

Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy will complete his third station mission when he undocks from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. He, with the station’s two filmmaking guests Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko riding alongside him, will touchdown on the Kazakh steppe on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Novitskiy has been packing the Soyuz spacecraft for several days with station hardware, science samples and personal items. He has also been practicing Soyuz descent techniques and training for the departure maneuvers on a Russian computer. The three-time station resident, with assistance from cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, has also been testing a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, that may help his body adjust quickly to Earth’s gravity after 191 days in space.

The station’s three NASA flight engineers had their hands full today with a host of research and lab upkeep activities in the orbiting lab’s U.S. segment. Megan McArthur swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then performed simulated robotic tasks for a cognition test. Shane Kimbrough had some light plumbing duties during the morning before continuing cargo work inside the Cygnus space freighter. Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station for nearly a year, filmed a video about safety in space for students on Earth then worked on life support and networking gear.

The two international astronauts, Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide, spent some time in their respective modules, Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Japan’s Kibo laboratory, ensuring smooth lab operations. Pesquet, of ESA (European Space Agency), serviced a variety of science freezers inside Columbus. Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reorganized stowage space inside Kibo making room for new science gear soon to be delivered on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.

Over in the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked on an exercise study and dismantled a radiation detector. Dubrov downloaded and checked radiation data then configured radiation sensors, or dosimeters.

Virtual Reality, Spacesuits, Departure Preps Keeping Crew Busy

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur poses with an AstroBee robotic free-flying assistant inside the space station's Kibo laboratory module.
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur poses with an AstroBee robotic free-flying assistant inside the space station’s Kibo laboratory module.

Exercising wearing virtual reality goggles, replacing spacesuit components, and getting ready for this weekend’s crew departure were the main objectives for the Expedition 65 crew today. The residents aboard the International Space Station also juggled ongoing research and maintenance tasks amidst Russian filmmaking activities.

Daily exercise in microgravity is vital to maintain bone and muscle health in the weightless environment of the orbiting lab. Scientists are studying whether virtual reality may add an extra dimension of pleasure and satisfaction for a crew member during an exercise session in space. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) put on a virtual reality headset and strapped himself on to an exercise bike Wednesday morning for the Immersive Exercise study. The virtual reality sequence, including audio, is synchronized with the pedaling speed to increase the immersive sensation.

Pesquet then spent the afternoon with NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough working on a U.S. spacesuit. The duo swapped components to resize the spacesuit and checked out the suit’s communications gear.

Kimbrough earlier swapped out fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack before cleaning up the seven-windowed cupola. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur spent her day deploying camcorders inside the Harmony module where the SpaceX Crew Dragon is docked.

In the Unity module, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei set up networking hardware and software then moved on to cargo work inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter. Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cleaned smoke alarms in the Kibo laboratory module then worked on botany and life science activities.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy is preparing for his return to Earth this weekend inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. Joining him for this morning’s Soyuz descent training session were Russian spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko. Novitskiy will lead the duo aboard the Soyuz to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov spent Wednesday morning studying future spacecraft piloting and robotic techniques. First time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos photographed Shkaplerov during the session. The duo, including Novitskiy, then spent the afternoon on filmmaking activities with their two Russian space station guests.

Station Orbits Higher During Science and Crew Departure Preps

Typhoon Mindulle is pictured 261 miles below the space station on Oct. 1, 2021. The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship (foreground) is docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
Typhoon Mindulle is pictured 261 miles below the space station on Oct. 1, 2021. The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship (foreground) is docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

The Expedition 65 crew kicked off the work week with robotics research, combustion, and life science as the International Space Station orbits a little higher today. Three Russian orbital residents are also preparing for their return to Earth this weekend.

NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough worked in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock today installing cameras, work lights and the new GITAI robotic arm technology demonstration. The GITAI tech demo will test the small robotic arm’s ability to push buttons, flip switches, and plug and unplug cables inside the station saving the crew time.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced components for the ACME series of gaseous flame studies today. Akihiko Hoshide, Flight Engineer from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), participated in a cognition test for the Standard Measures experiment before setting up the wearable Bio-Monitor that monitors crew health.

Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent most of the day servicing laptop computers and swapping out science hardware in the Columbus laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei had a light duty day as well as conducted a ham radio pass with students from England.

The return to Earth of Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko is still on track for Oct. 17 just after midnight Eastern time. The trio will undock from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Novitskiy continued packing the Soyuz MS-18 then joined cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and tested the lower body negative pressure suit that may help crew members adjust to gravity after returning to Earth. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov studied how microgravity affects the circulatory system before moving on to filmmaking activities with the other two cosmonauts and the two spaceflight participants.

The space station’s Zvezda service module fired it engines for 39 seconds early Tuesday morning lifting the station’s orbit by just over half-a-mile. The orbital reboost readies the station for December’s planned approach and rendezvous of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship with one Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese spaceflight participants.

Eye Checks, Science Work and Departure Preps Keeping Crew Busy

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew posed for a portrait aboard the space station on Oct. 4, 2021.
The seven-member Expedition 65 crew posed for a portrait aboard the space station on Oct. 4, 2021.

The Expedition 65 crew had a busy day on Thursday with eye checks, space science, and Soyuz crew departure preparations on the schedule. The 10 residents aboard the International Space Station also joined each other in the afternoon to review emergency procedures.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Shane Kimbrough swapped roles as crew medical officer today during a series of eye exams. Vande Hei kicked off the first session Thursday morning using an ultrasound device scanning the eyes of fellow astronauts Kimbrough, Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide, and Commander Thomas Pesquet. Kimbrough took charge in the afternoon measuring fluid pressure in his crewmates eyes then using near-infrared imaging gear to examine their retinas.

Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) started his day replacing electrical components inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility, an incubator with an artificial gravity generator. Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) installed a research device that will enable the observation of fluid physics and materials science experiments at high temperatures.

Veteran cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Anton Shkaplerov checked computers and electronics gear inside the docked Soyuz MS-18 and Soyuz MS-19 crew ships. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov joined Novitskiy and Shkaplerov and also assisted the two spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko with their filmmaking activities today.

Novitskiy will command the Soyuz MS-18 back to Earth in just over a week with the two filmmakers. Shkaplerov will complete his mission at the end of March next year inside the Soyuz MS-19 leading Vande Hei and Dubrov back home after their near year-long mission.

All 10 residents aboard the station joined each other for an hourlong session in the afternoon to review their roles and responsibilities in the unlikely event of an emergency on the station. They located safety gear, ensured the crew vehicles were ready for an evacuation, and practiced communication and coordination with mission control centers around the world.

Astronauts, Cosmonauts and Filmmakers Work Together on Station

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet wears augmented reality goggles that assist crew members with science experiments and orbital maintenance tasks.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet wears augmented reality goggles that assist crew members with science experiments and orbital maintenance tasks.

Ten people are living and working aboard the International Space Station today following the arrival of three Russian crewmates on Tuesday morning. The five astronauts, three cosmonauts, and two spaceflight participants will work together on science, maintenance, and filmmaking activities until the departure of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on Oct. 16.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei joined new Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and spent the first half of the day on communications work. The duo connected cables and configured components on a newly-installed router in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. The pair split up in the afternoon as Vande Hei worked on Cygnus space freighter cargo transfers and Pesquet inspected U.S. spacesuit gloves.

The other two NASA Flight Engineers, Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, assisted Vande Hei with cargo work inside Cygnus which has been attached to the Harmony module since August. McArthur also serviced a variety of hardware throughout the day including a cordless vacuum cleaner, science rack light bulbs and a carbon dioxide monitor. Kimbrough worked on, then activated and checked out the Tranquility module’s treadmill.

Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was in the cupola during the morning photographing tiny satellites deployed outside the Kibo laboratory module. The Japanese astronaut, who swapped station command with Pesquet on Monday, also assisted McArthur with the vacuum work then moved on to ventilation work inside Tranquility.

Four-time station visitor Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos got right to work Wednesday following his three-and-half ride to the orbiting lab on Tuesday. He unpacked cargo delivered aboard the new Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and worked on video gear and a Russian science experiment with fellow cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. Novitskiy then began collecting station hardware for return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov worked on water transfers from the docked ISS Progress 78 resupply ship then moved on to hardware checks inside the Rassvet module. Dubrov also helped the new spaceflight participants, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, adapt to life on the station as the pair begin several days of movie filming work.

Russian Soyuz Trio Meets Expedition 65 Crew

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide.
The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. Credit: NASA TV

The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 11 a.m. EDT. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 65 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.

This is the fourth flight into space for Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko are making their first flights into space and will spend 12 days on the space station, filming segments for a movie titled “Challenge” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities.

Peresild and Shipenko will return to Earth with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy Oct. 16 (Oct. 17 Kazakhstan time) on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, which is currently docked at the space station, for a parachute-assisted landing on the Kazakh steppe. Shkaplerov will remain aboard the station through next March, returning with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, and Roscosmos cosmonaut and Pyotr Dubrov on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. The return of Vande Hei and Dubrov will mark the end of a 355-day mission. Vande Hei will have completed the longest single spaceflight by an astronaut in U.S. history.

Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have been aboard since arriving April 23, 2021, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. Endeavor and its crew are currently planned to return early-to-mid November.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Russian Soyuz Crew Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon

Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 and MS-19 crew ships and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 and MS-19 crew ships and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko docked to the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above Earth to the north of the Philippine islands.

When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, the trio will join Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Mark Vande HeiShane Kimbrough and Megan McArthurAki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 9:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 10 a.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.