Station Crew Congratulates Pluto Team after Flyby

Astronaut Scott Kelly
Astronaut Scott Kelly recognizes the Pluto flyby of the New Horizons spacecraft.

As the Expedition 44 crew orbited above the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour the New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto this morning at more than 30,000 mph. New Horizons’ closest approach was about 7,750 miles above the dwarf planet’s surface after a nine-year trip. The International Space Station has been orbiting at an average altitude of about 250 miles since November 1998. Watch the video as NASA astronaut Scott Kelly recognizes the historical accomplishment.

Kelly talked to the Weather Channel and CNN International about his One-Year mission and today’s Pluto flyby. Kelly also checked out life support systems and deployed radiation detectors inside the station for the Radi-N experiment.

The two cosmonauts, Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, worked on a variety of Russian science experiments Tuesday. The duo explored cell cultivation, radiation exposure, crew performance measures and vibrations the space station experiences during internal and external operations.

Another crew is in Kazakhstan counting down to their July 22 launch on the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft to join Expedition 44. First time flyers NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui will join Soyuz Commander and veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for the six-hour ride to their new home in space.