The new Expedition 50 crew is in its first week aboard the International Space Station after a trio of Expedition 49 crew members left for Earth Saturday night. Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko are the sole occupants of the station right now awaiting three more crewmates due to launch in mid-November.
Kimbrough is tending a new garden of red romaine lettuce due to be harvested at the end of November. He is continuing the validation of greenhouse hardware to enable a fresh food supply for future crews venturing further and longer into space.
Cosmonauts Ryzhikov and Borisenko spent their time working on Russian life support systems and space research. The cosmonauts explored controlling rovers on a planetary surface from a spacecraft and also researched how microgravity affects pain sensitivity.
Back on Earth in Kazakhstan, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are preparing for their mission to the space station. The Expedition 50-51 crew members are due to launch Nov. 17 to begin a six-month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency safely landed their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft in Kazakhstan southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan at 11:58 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 29. Russian recovery teams are helping the crew exit the Soyuz spacecraft and adjust to gravity after their stay in space. The trio will be transported by helicopter to Karaganda, Kazakhstan where they will split up, with Rubins and Onishi returning to Houston in a NASA jet, while Ivanishin will be flown back to his training base at Star City, Russia.
During her time on the orbiting complex, Rubins ventured outside the confines of the station for two spacewalks. During the first one Aug. 19, she and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams installed the first international docking adapter. Outfitted with a host of sensors and systems, the adapter’s main purpose is to provide a port for commercial spacecraft to bring astronauts to the station in the future. Its first users are expected to be the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft now in development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. During her second spacewalk Sept. 1, Rubins and Williams retracted a spare thermal control radiator and installed two new high-definition cameras.
Together, the Expedition 49 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the world-class orbiting laboratory during their 115 days in space.
The trio also welcomed three cargo spacecraft delivering several tons of supplies and research experiments. Rubins was involved in the grapple of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft to the station in October, the company’s sixth contracted commercial resupply mission, and SpaceX’s Dragon ninth contracted mission in July. One Russian ISS Progress cargo spacecraft also docked to the station in July.
Rubins and Onishi spent a total of 115 days in space during their first mission. Ivanishin now has 280 days in space during two flights.
Expedition 50, with Shane Kimbrough of NASA in command and his crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, will operate the station for three weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.
Peggy Whitson of NASA, Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch Nov. 17 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency undocked from the International Space Station at 8:35 p.m. EDT to begin their journey home.
Ivanishin, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the MS-01 spacecraft. The trio’s spacecraft completed the first flight to station for the upgraded Soyuz MS-01 when it launched in July.
The crew is scheduled to land at 11:59 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
As the Soyuz MS-01 undocked, Expedition 50 officially began on the station under the command of NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough. He and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, will operate the station for three weeks until the arrival of three new crew members next month.
NASA TV will air live coverage of the Soyuz MS-01 deorbit burn and landing beginning at 10:45 p.m. Watch live online on NASA’s website.
At 5:12 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and MS-01 spacecraft. Expedition crew members Kate Rubins of NASA and her crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are preparing to undock at 8:35 p.m. NASA Television will provide coverage beginning at 8:15 p.m.
The deorbit burn is targeted for 11:06 p.m., and will lead to a landing at 11:59 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 10:45 p.m. Watch live online on NASA’s website.
The return of Expedition 49 wraps up 115 days in space for the crew since their launch in July. Rubins returns to Earth as the first person to sequence DNA in space.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough assumed command of the International Space Station from Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian Federal Space Agency at 3:37 p.m. EDT Friday in a traditional Change of Command ceremony. Expedition 50 will officially begin under Kimbrough’s command when the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency undocks from the space station on Saturday, October 29.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the departure and landing activities, beginning at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. Hatch closure on the Soyuz is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.
The trio is scheduled to return to Earth Saturday at 11:59 p.m. EDT (9:59 a.m. Oct. 30, Kazakhstan time). They will land in their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
Together, the Expedition 49 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.
Rubins, who has a degree in molecular biology, contributed to several new studies taking place for the first time aboard the space station, including the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment. By managing that experiment on station, she became the first person to sequence DNA in space. This capability could enable astronauts to diagnose an illness, or identify microbes growing in the space station and determine whether they represent a health threat.
Ivanishin handed over the command of station to NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough earlier today. When the spacecraft undocks from the station tomorrow, Expedition 50 will formally begin.
NASA Television coverage for Soyuz activities Oct. 29 are listed below. Watch live online on NASA’s website.
Timeline and NASA TV Coverage
Time (EDT) Event
4:45 p.m. NASA TV Coverage of Exp. 48 Farewell and Hatch Closure Begins
5:15 p.m. Soyuz TMA-20M/Space Station Hatch Closure 8:15 p.m. NASA TV Coverage of Soyuz Undocking Begins
8:33 p.m. Soyuz Undock Command Sent
8:35 p.m. Soyuz Undocking From ISS
8:38 p.m. Separation Burn 1
8:44 p.m. Separation Burn 2
10:04 p.m. Sunrise at the Landing Site in Kazakhstan 10:45 p.m. NASA TV Coverage of Deorbit Burn and Landing
11:06 p.m. Soyuz Deorbit Burn (4 minutes, 37 seconds duration)
11:33 p.m. Soyuz Module Separation (altitude ~87 miles)
11:36 p.m. Soyuz Atmospheric Entry (altitude ~62 miles)
11:44 p.m. Command to Open Chutes (altitude 6.7 miles)
11:59 p.m. Exp. 49 Soyuz MS-01 Landing Southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and her crewmates, Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are scheduled to return to Earth on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (9:59 a.m. Oct. 30, Kazakhstan time).
NASA Television will air coverage of the departure and landing activities, beginning with a change of command ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28. Expedition 49 Commander Ivanishin will hand over station command to NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.
One spacecraft is being packed and readied for the return of three humans to Earth while a cargo craft is being unloaded and settling in for a one-month stay.
The Expedition 49 trio of Commander Anatoly Ivanishin and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are packing gear and preparing for their return to Earth Saturday night. The veteran cosmonaut and two first-time astronauts will wrap up their mission after 115 days in space.
They will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. The ride back to Earth takes about 3-1/2 hours after undocking from the International Space Station.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus is the latest cargo ship to arrive at the International Space Station. It was captured and installed to the Harmony module on Sunday Oct. 23 after a six-day flight that began in Virginia.
The hatches were opened the day it arrived and the crew began unloading over 5,100 pounds of crew supplies and science gear. Cygnus is scheduled to depart in mid-November and release a set of nanosatellites before scientists remotely set fire inside the spacecraft for the Saffire-II experiment.
Three Expedition 49 crew members are winding down their stay in space this week, as a new trio gets used to its new home on orbit. While all six International Space Station residents are in the midst of a crew transition, they are still continuing advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance.
Commander Anatoly Ivanishin spent the morning getting the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft ready for its Saturday night departure. He and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi will board the Soyuz, undock from the Rassvet module and land in Kazakhstan ending a four-month mission. The trio spent Wednesday afternoon practicing their Soyuz descent procedures and packing gear.
Rubins also explored how living in space can affect brain functions such as perception, memory and motor control for the NeuroMapping study. Onishi spent some time on an education demonstration video for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
New station resident and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is getting ready for the crew handover as he prepares to assume station control. He will become station commander during a change of command ceremony Friday afternoon. Expedition 50 will officially begin when the Soyuz MS-01 undocks Saturday night. Kimbrough is staying in space until February with fellow crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko.
New station crew member Shane Kimbrough is installing hardware and plant pillows for the Veg-03 plant growth experiment. The study is a validation of the tools and procedures necessary to grow plants to provide fresh food for astronauts.
He and his Soyuz crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko are in their first week aboard the station. They are familiarizing themselves with their new home in space where they will live until February.
Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are researching how living in space affects breathing for the Airway Monitoring experiment. The duo were in the U.S. Quest airlock performing measurements to determine how much nitrogen oxide is exhaled and is diffused in the blood.
Commander Anatoly Ivanishin is packing the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft that will carry him, Rubins and Onishi back to Earth Saturday night ending their four-month mission. They will be replaced in mid-November when Expedition 50-51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy, Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet arrive inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Unity module of the International Space Station at 10:53 a.m. EDT. The Expedition 49 crew will begin unloading approximately 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food and supplies when the hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Unity module of the space station is opened. The spacecraft is scheduled to spend a little more than a month attached to the station.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus was launched on the company’s Antares rocket Monday, Oct 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus will remain attached to Unity until a planned departure in November sends the spacecraft toward a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere.
For more information about newly arrived science investigations aboard the Cygnus, visit: