Touchdown! Veteran Space Travelers Back on Earth

Soyuz Spacecraft Lands
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 53 crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli is pictured seconds from landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan in below freezing weather. Credit: NASA TV

Three crew members who have been living and working aboard the International Space Station have landed in Kazakhstan.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos landed at 3:37 a.m. EST (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. It is a frigid 10 degrees Fahrenheit on the ground, with the wind chill making it feel like 5 degrees below zero.

Together, the Expedition 53 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, as well as Earth and other physical sciences aboard the orbiting laboratory. Their time aboard marked the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment of the International Space Station from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the station.

During his time aboard the orbital complex, Bresnik ventured outside the space station for three spacewalks. Along with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, Bresnik lead a trio of spacewalks to replace one of two latching end effectors on the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. They also lubricated the newly replaced Canadarm2 end effector and replaced cameras on the left side of the station’s truss and the right side of the station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory.

Ryazanskiy conducted one spacewalk with fellow cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin in August to deploy several nanosatellites, collect research samples and perform structural maintenance.

Bresnik now has spent 150 days in space on two flights. Ryazanskiy now has 306 days in space on two flights. Nespoli has logged 313 days in space on his three flights.

The Expedition 54 crew continues operating the station, with Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos in command. Along with crewmates Mark Vende Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), are scheduled to launch Sunday, Dec. 17 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. NASA Television will broadcast the launch and docking.

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

Expedition 53 Leaves Station, Begins Ride Home

Soyuz MS-05 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft carrying three Expedition 53 crew members backs away from the International Space Station after undocking from the Rassvet module.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST to begin their trip home.

Deorbit burn is scheduled for approximately 2:45, with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 3:37 (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time). NASA TV coverage will resume at 2:15 for deorbit burn and landing coverage.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 54 began aboard the space station under the command of Roscosmos’ Alexander Misurkin. Along with his crewmates Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Sunday, Dec. 17, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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

Crew Says Goodbye and Closes the Hatch to Ride Home

Expedition 53 Crew Farewell
Cosmonauts (from left) Sergey Ryazanskiy and Alexander Misurkin trade hugs and farewells. Ryazanskiy is departing the station with astronauts Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of ESA in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

At 9:02 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 12:14 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 11:45 p.m.

Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 3:37 a.m. (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) and will conclude a 139-day mission aboard the space station, in which they logged 2,224 orbits of the Earth.

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

Crew Set to Say Goodbye and Close Soyuz Spacecraft Hatch

Expedition 52-53 crew members
Expedition 52-53 crew members (from left) Paolo Nespoli of ESA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Randy Bresnik of NASA are pictured in July 2017 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before beginning their mission.

Three crew members who have been living and working aboard the International Space Station are set for return to Earth on Thursday. Coverage of the farewell and hatch closure is now underway on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Hatch closure is scheduled for around 9 p.m. EST.

Earlier Wednesday, Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA handed over station command to Roscosmos’ Alexander Misurkin in an official Change of Command ceremony.

Bresnik and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos will undock their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft from the space station at 12:14 a.m. Thursday, with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 3:38 a.m. (2:38 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Their return will conclude 139 days in space since their launch on July 28.

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

 

Station Gets Ready to Swap Two Crews in Five Days

Expedition 52-53 crew members
Expedition 52-53 crew members (from left) Paolo Nespoli, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Randy Bresnik are suited up for a test run of their Soyuz undocking and landing.

The Expedition 53 crew is getting ready to split up Thursday morning before another crew begins its mission next week. Soyuz Commander Sergey Ryazanskiy will pilot his crew mates Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft back to Earth after 139 days in space. The trio is scheduled to undock from the Rassvet module at 12:14 a.m. Thursday and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 3:38 a.m.

New Expedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin will stay onboard the orbital laboratory with Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of NASA until March. The trio have been onboard the station since Sept. 12 and will welcome a new set of crewmates next week when the Soyuz MS-07 crew ship arrives.

The next space travelers to board the station will be veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and new astronauts Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. They are the Expedition 54-55 crew and are in Kazakhstan in final training ahead of their launch Sunday at 2:21 a.m. Shkaplerov, flanked by Tingle and Kanai, will take a two-day trip inside the Soyuz to the station before docking Tuesday at 3:43 a.m. for a four-month stay at the station.

NASA and SpaceX Now Target Wednesday for Dragon Launch

Spacex CRS-12 Launch
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship launches atop a Falcon 9 rocket Aug. 14, 2017, from Kennedy Space Center.

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 11:24 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 13th, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks.

A media pad photo opportunity scheduled for 11:30 p.m., Dec. 11 has been canceled.

A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, Dec. 16.

NASA Television coverage for launch is as follows:

Wednesday, Dec. 13

  • 10:45 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 12:30 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

Saturday, Dec. 16

  • 4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture
  • 7:30 a.m. – Installation coverage

Watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website: www.nasa.gov/live.

Join the conversation online by following @space_station.

Dragon Prepares to Launch, Crew Prepares to Land This Week

Near-Full Moon
A near-full moon is seen Dec. 2, 2017, as the space station orbited above north Africa.

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida counting down to its launch to the International Space Station Tuesday at 11:46 a.m. EST. Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 53 crew is preparing to split up this week.

Today, Dragon sits atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station filled with nearly 4,800 pounds of crew supplies, station hardware and new research gear. After liftoff Tuesday morning, it will take a near three-day trip to the space station.

Astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will be inside the cupola at the robotics controls Friday morning watching Dragon’s approach and rendezvous. When Dragon reaches a point 10 meters away from the orbital lab, the duo will command the Canadarm2 to grapple Dragon at about 6 a.m. Afterward, ground controllers will take over Canadarm2 and install the commercial cargo craft to the Harmony module where it will stay until Jan. 13.

In between Dragon’s launch and capture, three space station crew members will be going home. Crew mates Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are packing up the Soyuz MS-05 spaceship for a return to Earth Thursday at 3:38 a.m. The trio will have accumulated 139 days in space and traveled almost 59 million statute miles when it parachutes to a landing in Kazakhstan. NASA TV will broadcast all the space action this week.

NASA TV to Broadcast Briefings Before SpaceX Dragon Launch

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship launches atop a Falcon 9 rocket
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship launches atop a Falcon 9 rocket Aug. 14, 2017, from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Sandra Joseph

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting its 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station no earlier than 11:46 a.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Mission coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Monday, Dec. 11 with two news briefings.

Packed with about 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA TV Coverage Schedule:

Monday, Dec. 11

Tuesday, Dec. 12

  • 11:15 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 1:15 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

L-2 Weather Update

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff on Tuesday. The primary weather concern is liftoff winds.

Join the conversation online by following @space_station and #askNASA. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.

Crews Prepare to Swap Places as Station Eyes California Wildfires

California Wildfires
Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik aboard the International Space Station took this photo of the California wildfires in the Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 2017.

Two International Space Station crews are preparing to swap places at the orbital lab next week. In the midst of the crew swap activities, Commander Randy Bresnik also sent down dramatic photographs of the wildfires in California.

The Expedition 52-53 trio is getting its Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft ready for a three-and-a-half hour ride back to Earth on Dec. 14 after 139 days in space. Sergey Ryazanskiy, the Soyuz Commander, will lead his crewmates Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency to a parachuted landing on the steppe Kazakhstan.

Next, the Expedition 54-55 trio will blast off Dec. 17 aboard the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft and take a two-day trip to its new home in space. Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran cosmonaut from Roscosmos, will lead the flight to the station flanked by first-time astronauts Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Back on orbit, Bresnik shared pictures he took on social media of the wildfires threatening the greater Los Angeles area in southern California. He wrote on his Twitter account, “Thank you to all the first responders, firefighters, and citizens willing to help fight these California wildfires.”

More wildfire photos can be viewed on the NASA portal and Flickr.

Astronauts Command Robotic Arm to Release Cygnus Cargo Craft

Cygnus Released
The Cygnus cargo craft is seen from an International Space Station video camera moments after it was released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

After delivering almost 7,400 pounds of cargo to support dozens of science experiments from around the world, the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft has departed the International Space Station. At 8:11 a.m., Expedition 53 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA gave the command to release Cygnus.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, ground controllers used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach the Cygnus spacecraft from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Unity module. The spacecraft, which arrived at the station Nov. 14, then maneuvered above the Harmony module to gather data overnight that will aid in rendezvous and docking operations for future U.S. commercial crew vehicles arriving for a linkup to Harmony’s international docking adapters.

Experiments delivered on Cygnus supported NASA and other research investigations during Expedition 53, including studies in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

Later today, Cygnus will release 14 CubeSats from an external NanoRacks deployer. Cygnus also is packed with more than 6,200 pounds of trash and other items marked for disposal during its destructive reentry Monday, Dec. 18.

The Cygnus launched Nov. 12 on Orbital ATK’s upgraded Antares 230 rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for the company’s eighth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.

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