Expedition 64 Leaving Station as New SpaceX Crew Preps for Launch

(From left) The Expedition 64 crew is returning to Earth today as the SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts prepare for an April 22 launch to the station from Florida.
(From left) The Expedition 64 crew is returning to Earth today as the SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts prepare for an April 22 launch to the station from Florida.

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.

Staying behind at the station with the Crew-2 astronauts will be NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. They arrived on April 9 docking their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to the Rassvet module less than three-and-a-half hours after launching from Kazakhstan.

Walker to Command Station Until Departure at End of April

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, seen here signing the Unity module's vestibule that leads to the Cygnus space freighter, will command the station till her departure at the end of April.
NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, seen here signing the Unity module’s vestibule that leads to the Cygnus space freighter, will command the station till her departure at the end of April.

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker of Houston will assume command of the International Space Station today from Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov. Walker will lead the Expedition 65 crew for almost two weeks until she returns to Earth with her crewmates aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

NASA TV is broadcasting the traditional change of command ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT today.

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.

Walker Takes Command Thursday Ahead of Two Departures and Next SpaceX Crew

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker will assume command of the station from Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov on Thursday afternoon.
NASA astronaut Shannon Walker will assume command of the station from Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov on Thursday afternoon.

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.

SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

NASA TV is Live for SpaceX Crew Ship Relocation

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with its nose cone open, is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as four residents of the International Space Station prepare to take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft, relocating it to prepare for the arrival of the next set of commercial crew astronauts and the delivery of new solar arrays this summer.

NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, are scheduled to undock Resilience from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:29 a.m. and dock to the space-facing (zenith) port at 7:15 a.m.

The relocation will free Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Crew Dragon Endeavour, set to carry four crew members to the station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

This will be the first port relocation of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and another first for commercial spaceflight. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off Nov. 15, 2020, and docked to the space station Nov. 16.

Crew Dragon Relocation Preps during Botany, Nervous System Research

The seven-member Expedition 64 crew gathers together for a New Year's Day portrait inside the International Space Station's "window to the world," the cupola.
The seven-member Expedition 64 crew is pictured inside the space station’s “window to the world,” the cupola.

Four Expedition 64 astronauts are getting ready to move their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle to another docking port on the International Space Station next week. The orbital residents also continued advanced research into space agriculture and the human nervous system.

Resilience, the docked commercial crew craft from SpaceX, will taxi four astronauts from the Harmony module’s forward-facing port to its zenith, or space-facing port, on Monday at 6:30 a.m. EDT. The autonomous relocation maneuver will take about 45 minutes with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6 a.m.

Crew-1 Commander Michael Hopkins is riding along with Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi. The astronauts checked their Crew Dragon flight suits and communications gear during the afternoon. The quartet needs to be on the vehicle in the unlikely event Resilience is unable to redock. This assures there aren’t more crewmembers on the station than seats available on docked crew ships.

Meanwhile, the station crew kept up its space botany work today testing hydroponics as a way to maintain and grow crops in microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins kicked off her day with the Plant Water Management study as Hopkins took over the activities after lunch time.

Hopkins and Glover were also back in the Columbus laboratory module exploring how weightlessness affects their grip force and up/down movements. The experiment requires the astronauts to strap themselves in a specialized seat and perform a series of dexterous manipulation exercises. Observations could improve the design of spacecraft interfaces and offer deeper insights into the human nervous system in different gravity environments.

Walker was on Crew Medical Officer duties during the morning scanning Glover’s neck, shoulder and leg veins with the Ultrasound-2 device. She then spent the afternoon setting up alternate sleep accommodations ahead of the Expedition 65 crew arrival on April 9 when 10 people will be on the station for just over a week.

Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day collecting water samples from Russian life support systems and checking smoke detectors. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov cleaned ventilation systems and transferred water from the docked Progress 77 resupply ship.

Crew Looks to U.S. Space Record and Super Bowl Flyover

The moon is pictured below the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as the space station was orbited 263 miles above Atlanta, Georgia.
The moon is pictured below the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as the space station was orbited 263 miles above Atlanta, Georgia.

Most of the Expedition 64 crew started a three-day weekend today following a busy start to 2021 that saw two U.S. cargo ship departures and two spacewalks. Four of the orbital residents aboard the International Space Station will break a U.S. space record from the ’70s on Sunday, and Super Bowl fans in Tampa may be able to Spot the Station.

Four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts living aboard the International Space Station will surpass the U.S. record on Sunday for most days in space by a crew launched aboard a U.S. spacecraft. They will surpass the record of 84 days set by the Skylab 4 crew on Feb. 8, 1974.

Expedition 64 flight engineers Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, docked the “Resilience” SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the Harmony module’s international docking adapter on Nov. 16, 2020. The Skylab 4 crew, with NASA astronauts Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue,  docked their Apollo crew ship to the Skylab space station 47 years to the day when the crew of “Resilience” docked to the orbiting lab.

On the same day, the space station’s orbital path will take it within sighting range of Tampa, Florida, home of Super Bowl LV, at 7:15 p.m. EST . Weather permitting, the sighting opportunity will be about the same time two NFL football teams will be competing to win the game at Raymond James Stadium.

Four NASA astronauts and one JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut are relaxing today beginning a three-day weekend. The quintet were busy packing Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and the SpaceX Cargo Dragon in January and monitoring their departures. Then they redirected their attention to a pair of spacewalks by Hopkins and Glover to upgrade communications and power systems. During that period microgravity research was running full speed ahead exploring everything from life science to space physics to advanced technology demonstrations.

Meanwhile in the Russian segment of the station, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov serviced exercise equipment and video communications gear. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov set up and activated Earth observation hardware and assisted Ryzhikov with the upkeep of the Zvezda service module’s treadmill.

New Crew Sleeps as Cosmonauts Prep for Wednesday Spacewalk

The four Commercial Crew astronauts (front row from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are welcomed aboard the station. In the back row from left are, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
The four Commercial Crew astronauts (front row from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are welcomed aboard the station. In the back row from left are, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

The Expedition 64 crew expanded to seven members overnight after four Commercial Crew astronauts docked the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. Now two cosmonauts are gearing up for a spacewalk set to start Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. EST.

The newest station crew members are asleep today following a 27-hour-and-half trip from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the Harmony module’s forward-facing port. Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover, alongside Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, docked on Monday at 11:01 p.m. The hatches were opened two hours later, and the quartet entered the station to begin a six-month research mission.

All seven crewmembers gathered in the Harmony module for a welcoming ceremony and congratulations from NASA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) mission officials. Afterward, safety briefings were given to the new quartet showing potential lab hazards, emergency equipment locations and escape routes.

This is the first long-duration crew comprised of seven members in space station history. The station has hosted up to 13 visitors before but only for a few days at a time during crew swap operations.

Today, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins helped Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov get ready for their first spacewalk. The Russian duo will spend about five-and-a-half hours servicing external station hardware and science experiments. Their prime task will be to prepare the station’s Russian segment for the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module due to arrive in 2021.

NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk will begin Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. This will be the first spacewalk for the duo and the first spacewalk staged from the Poisk module. The Pirs docking compartment is being decommissioned to make room for the Nauka module.

Hatches Open, Crew Dragon Astronauts Join Expedition 64

The expanded seven-member Expedition 64 crew with Flight Engineers Kate Rubins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
The expanded seven-member Expedition 64 crew with (from left) Flight Engineers Kate Rubins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon have arrived at the International Space Station. Crew-1 joins Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and the pressurized mating adapter at 1:02 a.m. EST then opened the hatch to Crew Dragon.

NASA TV will continue to provide live coverage through the welcoming ceremony with NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Kathy Lueders joining to greet the crew from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa joining from the Tsukuba Space Center in Japan. The welcome ceremony is targeted to begin about 1:40 a.m.

About 2 a.m., NASA will host a news conference following the welcome ceremony with the following participants:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer
  • Ven Feng, deputy manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
  • Joel Montalbano, program manager, International Space Station

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived at the International Space Station Monday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the complex a 11:01 p.m. EST over Idaho.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Resilience and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 1:10 a.m.

Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.