The latest weather forecast is 100% favorable for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Northrop Grumman’s 13th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver more than 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station at 5:39 p.m. EST on Feb. 9.
Setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) landed on Earth at 4:12 a.m. EST in Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft at 12:50 a.m.
For Parmitano and Skvortsov, this landing completed a 201-day stay in space, 3,216 orbits of Earth and a journey of 85.2 million miles.
Koch’s first journey into space became a 328-day mission in which she orbited Earth 5,248 times, a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted and supported more than 210 investigations during Expeditions 59, 60, and 61, including as a research subject volunteer to provide scientists the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.
One particular research project in which Koch participated is the Vertebral Strength investigation, which better defines the extent of spaceflight-induced bone and muscle degradation of the spine, and the associated risk for broken vertebrae. This timely endeavor is expected to provide insight into the development of future countermeasures, such as preventative medicine or exercise. These results also could provide recommendations for limiting the amount of force astronauts are subjected to during launch.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). Their Soyuz MS-13 is expected to make its deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. EST to set the spacecraft on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m.
Koch’s extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.
“Earth is alive, and I have witnessed its power and beauty from a special vantage point 250 miles above the surface. From the space station we see no borders, no boundaries – we are all part of one giant organism that breathes and adapts. I have been in awe of this perspective for almost a year now. Back on Earth I anticipate looking up and seeing the space station streak across the sky, wondering how my friends and colleagues are doing up there without me. For almost 20 years humans have continuously lived and worked in space and the mission continues.
“Of note, the Moon looks the same from orbit as it does from Earth. It is a common point of reference for us all and offers a common interest as we strive to return to its surface.”
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are expected to land in their Soyuz MS-13 at 4:12 a.m. EST southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (3:12 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 3 a.m. for the deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. and the spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing.
When the Soyuz spacecraft undocked, Expedition 62 officially began aboard the station with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Morgan as flight engineers and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos as station commander. They will remain on board as a three-person crew until early April, when NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin will launch to the station.
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.