Expedition 48 Begins and Awaits Three New Crew Members

Expedition 47 Lands in Kazakhstan
The Expedition 47 crew members rest outside shortly after landing in Kazakhstan. Seated from left to right, and in their Sokol suits, are European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

Expedition 48 officially began Saturday morning with Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin continuing their stay aboard the International Space Station. They await the addition of three new crew members who will launch July 6 for a two-day ride to their new home in space.

Expedition 47 completed 186 days in space Saturday after landing in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra returned home to Houston the following day. European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake flew to Cologne, Germany, to begin his reconditioning. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko returned to Russia after completing his sixth mission to space.

Despite the weekend’s landing activities, science continues around the clock on the orbital laboratory. The crew is exploring how living in space affects the immune system and collected and stowed biological samples today for the Multi-Omics study. The crew is also setting up hardware for the NeuroMapping experiment. That study will research how spaceflight changes an astronaut’s brain and associated activities such as function, motor control, and multi-tasking abilities.

The next crew launch to the space station includes cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi. They will join Expedition 48 when their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft docks to the Rassvet module July 8.

Crew Back on Earth After 186 Days in Space

Soyuz TMA-19M Spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft descends to Earth carrying the Expedition 47 crew underneath a huge parachute. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA, and Tim Peake of ESA and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos landed their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 5:15 a.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The trio arrived at the International Space Station on Dec. 15, 2015. The crew’s return marks completion of the in-flight portion for NASA human research studies in four categories– ocular health, cognition, salivary markers and microbiome. From potential development of vaccines to data that could be relevant for patients suffering from ocular diseases such as glaucoma, the research will help prepare for human long-duration exploration while offering benefits to people on Earth.

Having completed his sixth mission, Malenchenko now has spent 828 days in space, making him second on the all-time list behind Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. Kopra now has 244 days in space on two flights while Peake spent 186 days in space on his first.

The station now is occupied by Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, and Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are scheduled to launch July 6 (Eastern time) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Crew Leaves Station After 186 Days in Space

After spending 186 days aboard the International Space Station, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko undocked from the station at 1:52 a.m. EDT 254 miles over eastern Mongolia to begin their voyage home. Malenchenko is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 37-second deorbit burn at 4:22 a.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 5:14 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The trio’s departure marks the end of Expedition 47. The Expedition 48 crew members, Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, along with his crewmates Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin, will continue research and maintenance aboard the station. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will join them next month.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-19M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 4 a.m.

Below is the remaining timeline for Expedition 47’s landing.

Saturday, June 18 (all times Eastern)

4 a.m.                         NASA TV: Expedition 47 Soyuz TMA-19M deorbit burn and landing coverage

4:22 a.m.                    Soyuz TMA-19m deorbit burn (4 minutes, 37 seconds duration)

4:26 a.m.                    Soyuz deorbit burn complete

4:49 a.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)

4:52 a.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)

5:00 a.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)

5:14 a.m.                 Expedition 47 Soyuz TMA-19M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Crew Says Farewell, Prepares Soyuz for Undocking

Expedition 47 Crew Farewell
Expedition 47 crew members (from left) Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake say farewell to their crewmates staying behind on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

At 10:34 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-19M spacecraft. Expedition 47 crew members Tim Kopra of NASA, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos are preparing to undock at 1:52 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 1:30 a.m.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 4:22 a.m. and will lead to a landing at about 5:14 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 4 a.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Astronauts Swap Station Command Friday Morning

Expedition 47 Crew Portrait
Commander Tim Kopra (bottom row center) will hand over command of the International Space Station to Flight Engineer Jeff Williams (top row center).

Three Expedition 47 crew members are preparing to go home early Saturday morning. Three other station residents will stay behind beginning Expedition 48 on the International Space Station.

Veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will command the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will take him and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake back to Earth. The trio are due to land Saturday at 5:14 a.m. EDT in Kazakhstan completing 186 days in space. NASA TV will cover the undocking and landing activities beginning Friday at 10:15 p.m.

Before Expedition 47 says goodbye, Commander Tim Kopra will hand over the station command to Flight Engineer Jeff Williams. The traditional Change of Command ceremony will take place Friday at 9:15 a.m. and be televised live on NASA TV.

Expedition 48 will officially begin the moment the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the Expedition 47 crew undocks from the Rassvet module. Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will continue station operations awaiting a new trio of crew members due to launch July 7 and arrive two days later.

Crew Tests Soyuz as Fire Science Takes Place in Cygnus

Cygnus Departs the Station
The Cygnus spacecraft is seen departing the station after its release from the Canadarm2 Tuesday morning.

A pair of Expedition 47 crew members tested the motion control system of the docked Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will ride the Soyuz back to Earth early Saturday morning. They will undock from the Rassvet module then land in Kazakhstan ending a 186-day mission in space.

The trio continued packing the Soyuz and training for Saturday morning’s descent. The crew will experience strong jolts, heaviness and labored breathing and speech as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and begin experiencing gravity.

After Cygnus departed safely away from the International Space Station on Tuesday scientists from NASA’s Glenn Research Center sparked a large fire inside the space freighter. The Saffire-1 experiment is exploring how fire behaves in microgravity so engineers can design safer spacecraft.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams worked on two U.S. spacesuits ahead of a pair of spacewalks targeted for later this summer. He sampled the cooling loop water then scrubbed the cooling loops inside the spacesuits.

Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka continued transferring cargo in the Progress 63 resupply ship. His fellow cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin worked on the Plasma Kristall experiment exploring how micro-particles become highly charged and interact in plasmas.

Robotic Arm Releases Cygnus Before Fire Experiment Starts

Cygnus Departs Station
The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft departs the International Space Station after its release from the Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 47 robotic arm operator Tim Kopra of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 9:30 a.m. EDT while the space station was flying above Paraguay. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.

After Cygnus is a safe distance away, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio will initiate the sequence for Saffire-1, and controllers at Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, will activate the experiment.  Cygnus will continue to orbit Earth for up to eight days as it transmits hi-resolution imagery and data from the Saffire experiment. Following complete data transmission, the Cygnus spacecraft will complete its destructive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on June 22. NASA TV will not provide a live broadcast of the Saffire experiment or the Cygnus deorbit burn and re-entry, but imagery from Saffire will be posted on NASA.gov as it becomes available.

The Cygnus resupply craft launched March 22 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for the company’s fifth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station

Watch Astronauts Release Spacecraft from Robotic Arm

Canadarm2 Captures Cygnus
The Canadarm2 robotic arm reaches out to capture the Cygnus spacecraft March 26.

Live coverage began at 9 a.m. EDT on NASA Television of the departure of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station. Release from the station’s Unity module is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

The Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station March 26, delivering almost 7,500 pounds of cargo and science investigations. Experiments delivered on Cygnus supported NASA and other research during Expeditions 47 and 48, including studies in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth, and also will help us on the journey to Mars. Investigations studied realistic fire scenarios on a space vehicle, enabled the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere from space, explored how regolith behaves and moves in microgravity, tested a gecko-inspired adhesive gripping device that can stick on command in the harsh environment of space, and added a new 3-D printer in microgravity.

Watch live on NASA TV or online: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

Cygnus Packed for Departure as Crew Preps for Homecoming

Cygnus Space Before its Capture
The Cygnus spacecraft is seen moments before its capture March 26, 2016.

The Cygnus resupply ship from Orbital ATK has been packed and its hatches closed before Tuesday morning’s release. Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 when it releases Cygnus at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Live television coverage on NASA TV starts at 9 a.m.

A few hours after its release a spacecraft fire experiment, Saffire-1, will take place inside Cygnus to test how different materials burn in space. Finally, on June 22 Cygnus will deorbit and during its reentry another experiment, Re-entry Breakup Recorder, will record its breakup into Earth’s atmosphere.

On Saturday, another spacecraft will leave the space station and return home three Expedition 47 crew members. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will command the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will land him and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake in Kazakhstan after 186 days in space. NASA TV coverage begins Friday at 10:15 p.m. The crew will undock Saturday at 1:52 a.m. and land at 5:15 a.m.

While the two spaceships are being prepared for departure, science and maintenance inside the orbital laboratory was ongoing. The crew set up the Cell Biology Experiment Facility in Japan’s Kibo lab module and documented the living conditions on the space station. The station residents also sampled for air and surface microbes and cleaned crew quarters.

Station Ramps Ups for Cygnus and Crew Departures

Astronaut Tim Peake
Astronaut Tim Peake tries on the Sokol pressure suit he will wear inside the Soyuz spacecraft that will take him home June 18. Credit: @Astro_TimPeake

A pair of spaceships is getting ready to depart the International Space Station next week. The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will be released from the Unity module June 14. Three Expedition 47 crew members will depart June 18 returning to Earth after 186 days in space.

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it releases Cygnus at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Cygnus will orbit Earth for eight more days of scientific tests exploring how materials burn in space and the orbital dynamics of a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Kopra and Peake will then join crewmate Yuri Malenchenko for a ride home inside the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft on June 18. The moment the trio undocks from the Rassvet module, Expedition 48 will officially begin with Williams as commander staying behind with Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.

As always, a wide variety science continues on the International Space Station to improve life on Earth and benefit crew members in space. Peake researched the cause of accelerated skin aging in space and studied plant hormones. Kopra drew a blood sample for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis.

Skripochka researched the radiation the station and its crew are exposed to internally and externally. Ovchinin explored plasma physics while Malenchenko and Skripochka partnered up for cardiovascular health studies.