NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website of the undocking at 12:50 a.m. EST and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return record-setting astronauts Christina Koch of NASA, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), and Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos to Earth in the early hours of Thursday, Feb. 6.
Koch’s first journey into space spanned 328 days since her launch March 14, 2019 is the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, the second-longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, and places her seventh on the list of American space travelers for total time in space. She conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all-woman spacewalks with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station.
Completing his second mission, Parmitano now has spent 367 days in space, more than any ESA astronaut in history. During his time in space for Expeditions 60 and 61, Parmitano conducted four spacewalks totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes to complete improvements to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in an effort to extend its life and support its mission of looking for evidence of dark matter. Parmitano was commander of Expedition 61.
Skvortsov completes his third mission and a total of 546 days in space, placing him 15th on the all-time spaceflight endurance list.
At 9:34 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 12:50 a.m.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 12:15 a.m.; their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 4:12 a.m.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the International Space Station’s Expedition 61 crew as they are preparing for their return to Earth.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are saying their farewells to NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos before their board their Soyuz spacecraft and close the hatches between them and the space station. Hatches are expected to close at about 9:25 p.m. EST for a series of leak checks before the Soyuz undocks and returns to Earth early Thursday morning.
Record-setting astronaut Christina Koch, along with Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing to depart the International Space Station just after midnight for their return to Earth early Thursday morning. Earlier today Expedition 61 Commander Parmitano passed control of the station to Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.
Tune in to NASA Television and the agency’s website tonight at 9 p.m. EST as Koch, Skvortsov, and Parmitano say farewell and board their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft in preparation for their undocking and return to Earth.
Koch was a crew member for Expeditions 59, 60 and 61, spending 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station.
During Koch’s 11-month mission, she participated in more than 210 investigations, helping advance NASA’s goals to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars. Koch participated in a number of studies to support those future exploration missions, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is packing up and cleaning her crew quarters today ahead of her return to Earth early Thursday. She will board the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship on Wednesday about 9:30 p.m. EST with crewmates Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency).
The trio will undock Thursday at 12:50 a.m. then parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m. (3:12 p.m. Kazakh time). NASA TV begins its live coverage Wednesday at 9 p.m. when the departing crew says farewell to their station counterparts and closes the Soyuz hatch.
This will cap a 328-day-long mission for Koch that began on March 14. She is now in second place for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut surpassed only by former astronaut Scott Kelly with 340 days during his final station mission.
Meir and Morgan are getting ready for another mission that begins Sunday when Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft lifts off at 5:39 p.m. It will rendezvous with the station Tuesday where the duo will be in the cupola to capture Cygnus at 3:30 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.
Ground controllers will then remotely command the Canadarm2 to install Cygnus to the Unity module where it will stay for 90 days. Cygnus will be delivering over 8,000 pounds of new research gear and crew supplies.
Koch will wrap up a 328-day mission aboard the orbiting lab on Thursday. Koch blasted off to join the station crew on March 14 with Expedition 59-60 crewmates Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin. Hague and Ovchinin have since returned home on Oct. 3.
When Koch lands, her mission-stay will be second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly. He lived aboard the station for 340 continuous days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.
She and her two homebound crewmates prepared today for the flight back to Earth. The trio familiarized themselves with the return procedures and the gravity loads they will experience upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
Expedition 62 officially begins when Koch and her crewmates undock Thursday at 12:50 a.m. Morgan and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir will continue their stay in space with Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.
Meir and Morgan are getting ready for the next Cygnus space freighter and its cargo of several tons of science experiments and crew supplies. Cygnus will launch Sunday at 5:39 p.m. and rendezvous with the station two days later for a robotic capture at 4:30 a.m.
Cardiology, combustion and CubeSats filled Thursday’s research schedule as three Expedition 61 crewmates are one week away from returning to Earth. The Cygnus space freighter is also poised to depart the International Space Station on Friday and complete one more mission.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is nearing the end of her 328-day mission aboard the orbiting lab. She will land in Kazakhstan Feb. 6 aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship with Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). Koch blasted off to join the station crew on March 14 while Skvortsov and Parmitano began their mission on July 20.
When Koch lands, her mission-stay will be the second longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut behind former astronaut Scott Kelly. He lived aboard the station for 340 continuous days.
NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan juggled a pair of experiments this morning. He ran the Hourglass study observing how simulated planetary materials behave during different gravity conditions. Next, he cleaned a furnace that exposes materials to high temperatures and levitates them to research their thermophysical properties.
Parmitano started his day on cardiology research before switching to fire safety studies. The station commander first scanned portions of his body with an ultrasound device. The biomedical study is helping doctors understand what happens to the heart and blood vessels in space. He then moved on and burned a variety of fabric and acrylic samples. Scientists are using the data to model how flames spread in space to improve fire safety procedures and products in space and on Earth.
The Cygnus space freighter is packed, closed and ready for one more mission after its robotic release from the Canadarm2 Friday at 9:35 a.m. EST. It will deploy eight CubeSats for communications and atmospheric research several hours after departing the orbiting lab. Flight Engineer Jessica Meir installed the CubeSats, packed inside the SlingShot small satellite deployer, on Cygnus’ hatch Thursday afternoon.
The Expedition 61 crew’s schedule was packed today as they researched space biology and packed a pair of spaceships for departure. Wednesday morning also saw the deployment of an experimental satellite outside the International Space Station.
Blood draws and eye checks are part of the crew’s regimen of biomedical activities to help doctors keep astronauts healthy during long-term space missions. Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) collected his blood samples this morning before spinning them in a centrifuge and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir had her eyes scanned in the afternoon by fellow NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan using optical coherence tomography gear.
Meir and Morgan started the day finishing up packing the Cygnus space freighter with trash and discarded gear before it leaves at the end of the week. Cygnus will be detached from the Unity module with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and released into Earth orbit on Friday at 9:35 a.m. EST. NASA TV will cover the release and departure live as mission controllers on the ground remotely command all the robotics work.
Cygnus has another mission to deploy eight CubeSats for communications and atmospheric research once it reaches a safe distance away from the orbiting lab. The space station also saw the deployment early this morning of a Department of Defense CubeSat that is testing space weather and satellite sensor technology. That satellite was deployed outside of the Kibo laboratory module using the specialized Cyclops deployer.
Christina Koch of NASA is returning to Earth next week after 328 days in space on her first mission. She will land in Kazakhstan with Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. The trio will board the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship, undock from the Poisk module and parachute to a landing Friday, Feb. 6, at 4:13 a.m. (3:13 p.m. Kazakh time).
Koch will be second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly who lived in space 340 days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.
The Cold Atom Lab (CAL) enables research into the quantum effects of gases chilled to nearly absolute zero, which is colder than the average temperature of the universe. NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch opened up the CAL today to swap and clean hardware inside the quantum research device.
Mission controllers will then remotely command the Japanese robotic arm to grapple and deploy Cyclops outside Kibo overnight. The tiny satellite, packed with a variety of space weather and star tracker experiments, will be deployed into Earth orbit Wednesday morning.
Meir then installed a different small satellite deployer, this one called SlingShot, on the Cygnus space freighter attached to the Unity module. The SlingShot, attached to Cygnus’ hatch, will release a variety of small satellites after the U.S. cargo craft departs the space station on Friday at 9:35 a.m. EST. The suite of eight CubeSats will study different optical and communication technologies as well as atmospheric and natural phenomena.
Koch is getting ready to come home on Feb. 6 with fellow crewmates Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The trio performed leak checks today on the Sokol launch and entry suits they will wear aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship when they parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.
Upon landing, Koch will have lived in space continuously for 328 days on her first mission. She will be second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly who lived in space 340 days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.
Engineers on the ground have begun powering up the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal system following a successful repair spacewalk over the weekend. The Expedition 61 astronauts are now preparing a U.S. cargo craft for its departure at the end of the week.
It took four spacewalks over three months to restore and upgrade thermal operations on the AMS. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano wrapped up the complex repair job on Saturday for the 8-year-old cosmic particle detector. Soon after the spacewalk, payload controllers reported stable cooling operations on the AMS, and are continuing to monitor its thermal conditions. The AMS will soon resume its search for evidence of dark matter and antimatter once the system checkouts are complete.
The crew are now turning their attention to packing Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship with trash and discarded hardware. Robotics controllers in Mission Control will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus on Friday at 9:35 a.m. EST after 88 days attached to the Unity module. The private cargo carrier will reenter Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific for a fiery, but safe disposal.
NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch started Monday on housecleaning tasks. They were joined by Morgan and Parmitano cleaning fans and filters and disinfecting surfaces containing microbes and condensation.
Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov is getting the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship ready for its return to Earth on Feb. 6. He will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan with Koch and Parmitano just three and half hours after undocking from the Poisk module. Koch will have lived in space continuously for 328 days on her first mission, second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly who lived in space 340 days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.