At 4:24 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 7:32 p.m.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 7 p.m.; their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 10:55 p.m.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 64 will begin aboard the station, with Kate Rubins of NASA, new station commander Sergey Ryzhikov and cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos comprising a three-person station crew until the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission targeted to launch in November. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will launch on the first long-duration commercial crew mission to the station.
NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT as NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos prepare to conclude their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth.
The trio will say goodbye to NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, new station commander Sergey Ryzhikov and cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and close the hatch to their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 4:10 p.m. EDT in preparation for their departure. They will conduct a series of leak checks before undocking at 7:32 p.m. from the Poisk module’s space-facing port. A parachute-assisted landing is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT (8:55 a.m. Oct. 22 Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan on the steppe of Kazakhstan.
The entire six-member space station crew slept in and shifted their schedules to accommodate tonight’s homecoming activities. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will board their Soyuz MS-16 crew ship and undock from the Poisk module at 7:32 p.m. EDT, soar through Earth’s atmosphere and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:55 p.m. (Oct. 22, 7:55 a.m. Baikonur time).
All the activities will be broadcast live on NASA TV. Coverage of crew farewells and hatch closing will begin at 3:30 p.m. Undocking coverage will begin at 7 p.m., and Soyuz deorbit burn and landing coverage at 9:30 p.m.
The trio is wrapping up final cargo loading today as they pack station hardware, research samples and personal items inside the Soyuz. After landing, the crew will have logged 196 days in space and circled Earth over 3,100 times for a total of just over 83 million miles.
Two veteran International Space Station crew members will swap command of the orbiting lab during the traditional Change of Command Ceremony this afternoon.
The six-member space station crew will gather together at 4:15 p.m. EDT when Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA ceremonially hands control of the station to Expedition 64 cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos. Ryzhikov will officially begin his command on Wednesday when Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner undock from the station at 7:32 p.m. inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. All the activities will be broadcast live on NASA TV.
Meanwhile, science and maintenance activities are moving right along inside the space station. Cassidy and NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins both had time set aside today collecting blood, saliva and urine for stowage and later analysis. Rubins then checked out research hardware and plumbing gear before familiarizing herself with station systems.
Ryzhikov and Vagner spent a couple of hours swabbing surfaces in the Russian segment of the station collecting microbial samples and placing them in petri dishes for incubation and analysis. Vagner also joined Ivanishin to test the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit for its ability counteract some adverse effects of long-duration spaceflight and prepare the duo for the return to Earth’s gravity.
New space flyer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov synchronized cameras with clocks on station laptop computers and worked on Russian plumbing tasks. The cosmonaut also is getting used to living and working in space for the first time.
Two veteran International Space Station residents will have a Change of Command ceremony on Tuesday before the Expedition 63 crew returns to Earth the following day. Meanwhile, the Russian portion of the crew has temporarily sealed a leak on the orbiting lab.
Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA will hand over control of the space station to cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov on Tuesday. The duo will be joined by the rest of their crewmates for the traditional event live on NASA TV starting at 4:15 p.m. EDT.
Cassidy will spend one more night in space with Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner before departing the station on Wednesday inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. They will undock from the Poisk module at 7:32 p.m., re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere just over three hours later and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:55 p.m. (Oct. 22, 7:55 a.m. Baikonur time). All the activities will be broadcast live on NASA TV.
Expedition 64 officially begins when Cassidy undocks with his two Russian crewmates. New station Commander Ryzhikov will stay in space until April with Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos.
Russian crew members were able to temporarily seal the air leak teams have been investigating aboard the station. The leak, which has been investigated for several months, continues to pose no immediate danger to the crew at the current leak rate. Roscosmos engineers are working with the station crew to develop a forward plan to permanently seal the suspected leak location.
Science is doubling up on the International Space Station with the addition of three new space residents. However, they will split up on Oct. 21 before four more astronauts launch to join the Expedition 64 crew in November.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on her second station mission, is stepping into her role as space scientist today while getting up to speed with life on orbit. She wore virtual reality goggles to explore how her sense of perception is adapting to microgravity. Rubins later serviced a biology research device that can produce up to 2g of artificial gravity.
Rubins’ fellow crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will stay with her in space until April. Ryzhikov, on his second stay aboard the orbiting lab, unpacked cargo from the new Soyuz MS-17 crew ship today. First-time space-flyer Kud-Sverchkov checked out Russian science hardware.
Station Commander Chris Cassidy is nearing the end of his stay onboard the station with crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The trio have been packing cargo and personal items inside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that will parachute the crew back to Earth on Oct. 21. Cassidy will hand over command of the station to Ryzhikov on Oct. 20.
All six station residents got together in the middle of the day and reviewed their emergency roles and responsibilities.
The arrival temporarily restores the station’s crew complement to six for the remainder of Expedition 63.
Expedition 64 begins Wednesday, Oct. 21, with the departure of Cassidy, Vagner, and Ivanishin in the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that brought them to the station on April 9. Cassidy will hand command of the station to Ryzhikov during a ceremony with all crew members that is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The Expedition 64 crew will conduct research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research and more. During Rubins’ first spaceflight in 2016, she became the first person to sequence DNA in space. Research conducted in microgravity helps NASA prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, and contributes to improvements for life on Earth. Follow Rubins during her space mission on Facebook and Instagram.
This is the second spaceflight for Rubins and Ryzhikov. Kud-Sverchkov becomes the 241st person to visit the unique microgravity laboratory, and the trio will be aboard to celebrate the 20th anniversary of uninterrupted human presence since the Expedition 1 crew arrived Nov. 2, 2000. Humanity’s home in space has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from people in 108 countries and areas.
During Expedition 64, the arrival of Crew-1 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on the first operational commercial mission to the space station will bring four more crew members, expanding a long-duration Expedition crew to seven people for the first time. Crew-1 is currently targeted for launch in November.
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov docked to the International Space Station at 4:48 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 261 miles above the Mediterranean Sea.
Aboard the space station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.
Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 6 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for 6:45 a.m.
Cancer therapy was the main focus of Friday’s research aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 63 crew is also getting ready to return to Earth while still finding time for more science work.
Microgravity research on the station has enabled pharmaceutical innovations with real benefits for patients on Earth. Biology experiments in space also provide insights into how the human body adapts to weightlessness. This helps doctors keep astronauts healthy as NASA plans missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The Onco-Selectors study taking place today inside the space station’s Life Sciences Glovebox, installed in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module, seeks to develop drugs that could improve the survival rate of cancer patients. Commander Chris Cassidy spent most of Friday mixing and applying a treatment to healthy and cancerous cell samples being observed for the new cancer investigation.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were once again exploring ways to reverse the loss of bone mass that occurs during a long-term space mission. The Russian duo worked throughout the day setting up hardware and logging meals and drinks to monitor and understand the mechanisms of bone loss caused by weightlessness.
The two cosmonauts are also gearing up for their return to Earth with Cassidy in less than two weeks. They have been gathering station hardware and personal items that will soon be stowed inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. All three crew members will parachute to Earth inside the Soyuz spacecraft ending their 196-day space research mission on Oct. 21.
The Expedition 63 crew is readying gear and suits today as they prepare to return to Earth in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, Thursday’s research aboard the International Space Station looked at robotics and biology.
Two crews will launch to the station and another one will complete its mission this month. First, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will ride to the station aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The Expedition 64 trio crew will blast off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 14 to begin a 185-day mission aboard the orbiting lab.
Cassidy joined Ivanishin and Vagner during the afternoon and checked for leaks inside the Sokol flight suits they will wear when they depart the station. Ivanishin and Vagner also continued gathering station gear and personal items they will soon pack inside their Soyuz crew ship.
As usual, science experiments are ongoing on the station whether with inputs from the crew or by remote operations from students and scientists on the ground. Robotics is a prime space research subject and Cassidy set up the AstroBee free-flying satellites today that students are learning to program to understand spacecraft maneuvers. The veteran NASA astronaut later installed new hardware on the Life Sciences Glovebox to support prolonged crew operations in the research device.
Ivanishin and Vagner were back on biology studies today exploring ways to prevent the loss of bone mass due to extended missions in space.