NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos landed on Earth at 12:55 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 17 in Kazakhstan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m.
After post-landing medical checks, the crew will split up with Rubins returning to her home in Houston, while the cosmonauts fly back to their training base in Star City, Russia.
Later this month, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 members – NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet – will join the Expedition 65 members aboard the station. Crew-2 will be the second long-duration mission to fly as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, continuing to provide the capability of regularly launching humans from American soil.
In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed a 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 243 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying the trio will make its deorbit burn to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17.
During the 185-day mission, Rubins spent hundreds of hours working on new space station experiments, building on investigations she conducted during her first mission, including heart research and multiple microbiology studies. She advanced her work in DNA sequencing, which could allow astronauts to diagnose an illness in space or identify microbes growing at the space station. Rubins collected hundreds of microbial samples at different locations within the space station for the 3DMM study to construct a 3D map of bacteria and bacterial products throughout the station. By advancing understanding of the orbiting laboratory’s microbiome, this work helps identify potential risks and supports developing countermeasures to mitigate those risks.
Rubins also worked on the Cardinal Heart experiment, which studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue levels. Results could provide new understanding of heart problems on Earth, help identify new treatments, and support development of screening measures to predict cardiovascular risk prior to spaceflight.
The Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station at 9:34 p.m. EDT, carrying three people back to Earth. NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 11:30 p.m. for the deorbit burn and the spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17.
Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov’s mission began Oct. 14, 2020, when their spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their spacecraft docked to the Earth-facing port of the Rassvet module after a two-orbit, three-hour flight.
Expedition 65 officially began at the time of undocking with NASA astronaut Shannon Walker serving as station commander. Walker will lead the crew until the departure of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience on Wednesday, April 28, when command of the station will be handed over to JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website of the undocking and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to Earth.
The three crew members are concluding a 185-day mission spanning 2,960 orbits of Earth and 78.4 million miles. Rubins is completing her second flight, with 300 cumulative days in space. Ryzhikov is completing his second spaceflight, with 358 cumulative days. This was Kud-Sverchkov’s first spaceflight.
During their mission, Rubins and her crewmates welcomed NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard the first long-duration commercial crew spaceflight. Rubins completed two spacewalks alongside NASA astronaut Victor Glover and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, bringing her career total to four spacewalks. She returns to Earth with a total of 300 days across her two flights, the fourth most days in space by a U.S. female astronaut.
At 6:24 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 9:15 p.m., with coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 11:30 p.m. Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17.
The trio will and close the hatch to their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 6:10 p.m. EDT to begin the journey back to Earth. They will undock from the space-facing port of the station’s Poisk module at 9:34 p.m., heading for a parachute-assisted landing at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17, on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.
Coverage of the farewells and hatch closure will be followed by undocking coverage at 9:15 p.m., with coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 11:30 p.m.
Three Expedition 64 crew members are preparing to return to Earth today completing a 185-day research mission on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, four new SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center preparing for a launch next week to the orbiting lab.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will say goodbye to their station crewmates today. They will enter the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship and close the hatch for the final time at 6:10 p.m. EDT. The trio will then undock from the Poisk module at 9:34 p.m. and parachute to Earth about three-and-a-half hours later inside the Soyuz crew ship. NASA TV will broadcast all the homecoming activities live beginning at 5:45 p.m. today.
Four Commercial Crew astronauts left Houston today and arrived in Florida to prepare for an April 22 liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center to the space station. The quartet will take a near 24-hour ride inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour before docking to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.
Endeavour will be commanded by Shane Kimbrough and piloted by Megan McArthur, both NASA astronauts. They will be accompanied by Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency. All four astronauts have previously flown on space shuttles or Soyuz vehicles.
They will be greeted by station Commander and Houston native Shannon Walker of NASA and her SpaceX Crew-1 crewmates Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA. The foursome, having been aboard the station since November, will then turn its attention to an April 28 return to Earth aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience.
Ryzhikov will depart the orbiting lab on Friday with his Expedition 64 crewmates Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos. The trio will undock from the Poisk module inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship at 9:34 p.m. and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan about three-and-a-half hours later.
The seven-member Expedition 65 crew will be waiting for the arrival of four new Commercial Crew members due to launch to the station on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. SpaceX Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur will be guiding the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle toward the station with Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet. The new quartet will dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter a little less than 24 hours later.
11 people will occupy the orbiting lab until April 28 when the four members of SpaceX Crew-1 end their 162-day space research mission. Michael Hopkins will be in charge of the Crew Dragon as Victor Glover pilots the vehicle, with Walker and Soichi Noguchi inside, when it undocks from Harmony’s space-facing port at 7:04 a.m. They will parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida about five-and-a-half hours later.
The day before the Crew-1 departure Walker will hand over station command to Hoshide who will lead the Expedition 65 crew. Hoshide will be the second astronaut overall from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to lead a station crew since Koichi Wakata commanded Expedition 39 in 2014.
Ten people occupy the International Space Station today but that will change on Friday when three Expedition 64 crew members return to Earth. Soon after that, four new Commercial Crew members will launch to the orbital lab when it will temporarily host 11 crew members.
Houston native and NASA astronaut Shannon Walker is preparing to take command of the space station on Thursday when Commander Sergey Ryzhikov hands over control before departing the next day. NASA TV will broadcast the traditional change of command ceremony from Expedition 64 to Expedition 65 live beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT.
Expedition 65 officially begins when Ryzhikov undocks inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship with Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos. The automated undocking command will come at 9:34 p.m. on Friday when the Soyuz spacecraft will slowly back away from the Poisk module. Less than three-and-a-half hours later the three space travelers will parachute to Earth inside their spacecraft after a 185-day space research mission.
The second operational crew mission from SpaceX is gearing up for launch on April 22 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Two NASA astronauts, one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut and one ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut will ride inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the station to complete the Expedition 65 crew. NASA TV will be on air live broadcasting the 6:11 a.m. launch next Thursday. NASA TV’s continuous coverage will also show the docking taking place the following day at 5:30 a.m.
The four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are all veteran astronauts having previously launched to space on space shuttles and Soyuz crew ships. Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough rode to the station twice on space shuttle Endeavour in 2008 and the Soyuz MS-02 crew ship in 2016. Pilot Megan McArthur flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis in 2009 to service the Hubble Space Telescope. JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide took two rides to low-Earth orbit, the first aboard space shuttle Discovery in 2008 and the second in 2011 aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft. This will be ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s second space mission, his first aboard the Soyuz MS-03 crew ship in 2016.
Less than a week after the veteran quartet’s arrival, the four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts will return to Earth after working in space for 162 days. Walker, along with her commercial crewmates Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi, will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter on April 28 at 12:04 p.m. and splashdown off the coast of Florida about five-and-a-half hours inside their Crew Dragon vehicle.
Three Expedition 64 crew members reviewed departure procedures today as they get ready to leave the International Space Station at the end of the week. Meanwhile, there was a harvest onboard the orbital lab today while three new crewmates get used to life in space.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov Tuesday afternoon and looked over the steps they will take after they undock from the space station on Friday at 9:34 p.m. EDT. The trio reviewed the g-forces that occur when entering Earth’s atmosphere and experiencing gravity for the first time in 185 days. The former station residents will parachute to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft after leaving the Poisk module about three-and-a-half hours earlier.
A small crop of Amara Mustard and Pak Choi plants was picked today as part of the ongoing Veg-3 space agriculture study. NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins removed the plants from the Columbus lab module’s Veggie Facility and stowed the leaves for later analysis. The botany investigation is informing NASA and its international partners on how to feed crews without resupply ships on future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Ongoing technical and life support maintenance is key to ensuring science experiments are up and running and the astronauts stay healthy while orbiting Earth.
The station’s newest crew members, Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, both from Roscosmos, are in their first week on the space station. They are getting oriented with station systems while also stepping up their science and maintenance activities. Vande Hei installed acoustic monitors and collected carbon dioxide data today. Novitskiy worked on a Russian radiation experiment as Dubrov checked ear, nose and throat medical equipment.