Crew Swaps Command and Readies for Homecoming

Expedition 49 Change of Command
The six Expedition 49 crew members wave to mission controllers moments after cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin (right foreground) swapped command with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough (left foreground) during a traditional Change of Command Ceremony. Credit: NASA TV

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

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

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.

Watch Station Crew Swap Command Friday Afternoon

The Soyuz Crew Trios of Expedition 49
The Expedition 49-50 trio of (from left) Sergey Ryzhikov, Shane Kimbrough and Borisenko will stay on board the station after the Expedition 48-49 trio with Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi undock and return to Earth Saturday night. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

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.

Watch live online on NASA’s website.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Soyuz Packed for Return While Cygnus Unloaded After Capture

Expedition 49 Crew Members
The six-member Expedition 49 crew poses for a portrait in the Destiny lab module. (Front row, from left) Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi. (Back row) Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko.

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.


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Trio Getting Ready for Weekend Departure

Expedition 48-49 Crew Members
The departing Expedition 48-49 crew members (from left) Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi.

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.


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Crew Waits For Pair of Spaceships Next Week

Expedition 49 Crew Members
(From left) Expedition 49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi pose for a portrait inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

A pair of spaceships are on opposite sides of the world gearing up for missions to the International Space Station next week.

Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is getting ready for its sixth Orbital ATK mission aboard a Cygnus resupply ship no earlier than Oct. 16. NASA and Orbital ATK mission mangers are monitoring Hurricane Nicole before finalizing the Cygnus launch date.

Cygnus will be packing about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research. After its cargo mission is complete, Cygnus will depart away from the station to deploy a set of weather monitoring nanosatellites before conducting an internal combustion experiment.

The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will host the launch of three Expedition 49-50 crew members inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. The trio is scheduled to launch Oct. 19 on a two-day trip to its new home in space.

Two astronauts living in space right now spent the first part of their day exploring upper body fluid shifts caused by microgravity. These fluid shifts apply pressure to eyes and have been known to affect crew vision. Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi participated in eye exams and ultrasound scans for today’s experiment run.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin checked life support systems today and worked on Russian science experiments. The veteran cosmonaut explored the water composition of a crew member living in space and researched micrometeoroid impacts on the space station.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/