Russian Station Veteran, Filmmakers Back on Earth

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship with three Russian crew mates is pictured just moments from landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship with three Russian crew mates is pictured just moments from landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko landed on Earth at 12:35 a.m. EDT Sunday, October 17 in Kazakhstan (10:35 a.m. Kazakhstan time), southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft at 9:14 p.m.

Novitskiy arrived to the space station April 9 and returns to Earth after 191 days in space on his third mission that spanned 3,056 orbits of Earth and 80.9 million miles. During the mission, he completed three spacewalks totaling 22 hours, 38 minutes. He has now logged 531 days in space on his three flights.

Peresild and Shipenko arrived at the station Oct. 5 as spaceflight participants for 12 days of filming their movie, “Challenge,” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities.

The trio will return by Russian helicopters to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, before boarding a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to their training base in Star City, Russia.

Remaining aboard the station is the seven-person crew of Expedition 66 with station commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

Later this month, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 members – NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer – will join the Expedition 66 members aboard the station. Crew-3 will be the third long-duration mission to fly as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, continuing to provide the capability of regularly launching humans from American soil.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed a 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Back on Air for Soyuz Crew Landing Coverage

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured relocating from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Sept. 28, 2021.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured relocating from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Sept. 28, 2021.

NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of a trio of Russian spacefarers.

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko will make its deorbit burn at 11:41 p.m. EDT to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:35 a.m. (10:35 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Soyuz Crew Ship with Russian Trio Undocks from Station

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship departs the space station with three Russian crew members on their way home to Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship departs the space station with three Russian crew members on their way home to Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station at 9:14 p.m. EDT, carrying three people back to Earth. Live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will resume at 11:15 p.m. for the deorbit burn and landing of the spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.

Expedition 66 officially began aboard the station at the time of undocking. Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) is the station commander for the crew consisting of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

Novitskiy arrived to the space station April 9 with Vande Hei and Dubrov, who will both remain aboard the orbiting laboratory until March 2022.

A potential benefit to this extension is NASA gaining deeper insight into how the human body adapts to life in microgravity for longer periods of time. This research helps prepare for Artemis missions to the Moon and eventually long-duration missions to Mars, as well as provides critical opportunities for additional research to be conducted aboard the station that can benefit life on Earth.

Peresild and Shipenko have spent 12 days aboard station as spaceflight participants to film their movie, “Challenge.” They arrived at the station Oct. 5 aboard the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft with Shkaplerov.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Live Now as Soyuz Crew Gets Ready to Undock

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app of the undocking and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko to Earth. The coverage will include a replay of hatch closure.

Novitskiy returns to Earth after 191 days in space on his third mission. At the time of landing, Novitskiy will have logged 531 days in space on his three flights.

Peresild and Shipenko arrived at the station Oct. 5 aboard the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov for 12 days of filming their movie, “Challenge,” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities. They served as spaceflight participants during their stay on the orbital complex.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Departing Russian Trio Says Farewell to Station Crew

(From left) Spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are pictured moments before entering the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
(From left) Spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are pictured moments before entering the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

At 4:41 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, Russian actress Yulia Peresild, and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko are scheduled to undock in the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft at 9:14 p.m.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 9 p.m.; the coverage will include a replay of hatch closure. Coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing begins at 11:15 p.m. Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.

When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 66 will formally begin aboard the station. Remaining aboard the orbiting outpost will be commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Covers Russian Trio Leaving Station for Earth

(From left) Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild are returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
(From left) Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild are returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app as Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko prepare to return to Earth from the International Space Station.

The trio will bid farewell to the Expedition 65 crew at 4:35 p.m. EDT and later will close the hatch to their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft around 5:45 p.m. to begin the journey back to Earth. They will undock from the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:14 p.m., heading for a parachute-assisted landing at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17, on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

Coverage of the farewells will be followed by undocking coverage at 9 p.m. that will include a replay of hatch closure, with coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 11:15 p.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Virtual Reality, Spacesuits, Departure Preps Keeping Crew Busy

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur poses with an AstroBee robotic free-flying assistant inside the space station's Kibo laboratory module.
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur poses with an AstroBee robotic free-flying assistant inside the space station’s Kibo laboratory module.

Exercising wearing virtual reality goggles, replacing spacesuit components, and getting ready for this weekend’s crew departure were the main objectives for the Expedition 65 crew today. The residents aboard the International Space Station also juggled ongoing research and maintenance tasks amidst Russian filmmaking activities.

Daily exercise in microgravity is vital to maintain bone and muscle health in the weightless environment of the orbiting lab. Scientists are studying whether virtual reality may add an extra dimension of pleasure and satisfaction for a crew member during an exercise session in space. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) put on a virtual reality headset and strapped himself on to an exercise bike Wednesday morning for the Immersive Exercise study. The virtual reality sequence, including audio, is synchronized with the pedaling speed to increase the immersive sensation.

Pesquet then spent the afternoon with NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough working on a U.S. spacesuit. The duo swapped components to resize the spacesuit and checked out the suit’s communications gear.

Kimbrough earlier swapped out fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack before cleaning up the seven-windowed cupola. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur spent her day deploying camcorders inside the Harmony module where the SpaceX Crew Dragon is docked.

In the Unity module, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei set up networking hardware and software then moved on to cargo work inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter. Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cleaned smoke alarms in the Kibo laboratory module then worked on botany and life science activities.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy is preparing for his return to Earth this weekend inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. Joining him for this morning’s Soyuz descent training session were Russian spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko. Novitskiy will lead the duo aboard the Soyuz to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov spent Wednesday morning studying future spacecraft piloting and robotic techniques. First time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos photographed Shkaplerov during the session. The duo, including Novitskiy, then spent the afternoon on filmmaking activities with their two Russian space station guests.

Station Orbits Higher During Science and Crew Departure Preps

Typhoon Mindulle is pictured 261 miles below the space station on Oct. 1, 2021. The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship (foreground) is docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
Typhoon Mindulle is pictured 261 miles below the space station on Oct. 1, 2021. The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship (foreground) is docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

The Expedition 65 crew kicked off the work week with robotics research, combustion, and life science as the International Space Station orbits a little higher today. Three Russian orbital residents are also preparing for their return to Earth this weekend.

NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough worked in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock today installing cameras, work lights and the new GITAI robotic arm technology demonstration. The GITAI tech demo will test the small robotic arm’s ability to push buttons, flip switches, and plug and unplug cables inside the station saving the crew time.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced components for the ACME series of gaseous flame studies today. Akihiko Hoshide, Flight Engineer from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), participated in a cognition test for the Standard Measures experiment before setting up the wearable Bio-Monitor that monitors crew health.

Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent most of the day servicing laptop computers and swapping out science hardware in the Columbus laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei had a light duty day as well as conducted a ham radio pass with students from England.

The return to Earth of Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko is still on track for Oct. 17 just after midnight Eastern time. The trio will undock from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Novitskiy continued packing the Soyuz MS-18 then joined cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and tested the lower body negative pressure suit that may help crew members adjust to gravity after returning to Earth. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov studied how microgravity affects the circulatory system before moving on to filmmaking activities with the other two cosmonauts and the two spaceflight participants.

The space station’s Zvezda service module fired it engines for 39 seconds early Tuesday morning lifting the station’s orbit by just over half-a-mile. The orbital reboost readies the station for December’s planned approach and rendezvous of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship with one Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese spaceflight participants.

Astronauts, Cosmonauts and Filmmakers Work Together on Station

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet wears augmented reality goggles that assist crew members with science experiments and orbital maintenance tasks.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet wears augmented reality goggles that assist crew members with science experiments and orbital maintenance tasks.

Ten people are living and working aboard the International Space Station today following the arrival of three Russian crewmates on Tuesday morning. The five astronauts, three cosmonauts, and two spaceflight participants will work together on science, maintenance, and filmmaking activities until the departure of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on Oct. 16.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei joined new Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and spent the first half of the day on communications work. The duo connected cables and configured components on a newly-installed router in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. The pair split up in the afternoon as Vande Hei worked on Cygnus space freighter cargo transfers and Pesquet inspected U.S. spacesuit gloves.

The other two NASA Flight Engineers, Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, assisted Vande Hei with cargo work inside Cygnus which has been attached to the Harmony module since August. McArthur also serviced a variety of hardware throughout the day including a cordless vacuum cleaner, science rack light bulbs and a carbon dioxide monitor. Kimbrough worked on, then activated and checked out the Tranquility module’s treadmill.

Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was in the cupola during the morning photographing tiny satellites deployed outside the Kibo laboratory module. The Japanese astronaut, who swapped station command with Pesquet on Monday, also assisted McArthur with the vacuum work then moved on to ventilation work inside Tranquility.

Four-time station visitor Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos got right to work Wednesday following his three-and-half ride to the orbiting lab on Tuesday. He unpacked cargo delivered aboard the new Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and worked on video gear and a Russian science experiment with fellow cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. Novitskiy then began collecting station hardware for return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov worked on water transfers from the docked ISS Progress 78 resupply ship then moved on to hardware checks inside the Rassvet module. Dubrov also helped the new spaceflight participants, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, adapt to life on the station as the pair begin several days of movie filming work.

Russian Soyuz Trio Meets Expedition 65 Crew

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide.
The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. Credit: NASA TV

The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 11 a.m. EDT. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 65 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.

This is the fourth flight into space for Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko are making their first flights into space and will spend 12 days on the space station, filming segments for a movie titled “Challenge” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities.

Peresild and Shipenko will return to Earth with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy Oct. 16 (Oct. 17 Kazakhstan time) on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, which is currently docked at the space station, for a parachute-assisted landing on the Kazakh steppe. Shkaplerov will remain aboard the station through next March, returning with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, and Roscosmos cosmonaut and Pyotr Dubrov on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. The return of Vande Hei and Dubrov will mark the end of a 355-day mission. Vande Hei will have completed the longest single spaceflight by an astronaut in U.S. history.

Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have been aboard since arriving April 23, 2021, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. Endeavor and its crew are currently planned to return early-to-mid November.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.