Expedition 42 Returns Home After 167 Days in Space

Expedition 42 Lands
The three Expedition 42 crew members were extracted from the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in below freezing temperatures with snow and foggy conditions. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency landed their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at approximately 10:07 p.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams are helping the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The trio arrived at the International Space Station on Nov. 23, 2014, and spent more than five months conducting research and technology demonstrations. Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova spent 167 days aboard the space station and clocked almost 71 million miles during their time in space.

Wilmore now has logged 178 days in space during two missions, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-129 in 2009. Samokutyaev now has spent 331 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 27/28 in 2011. This was Serova’s first flight into space.

The station now is occupied by Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA and Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency. They will remain aboard the station to continue research and maintenance until the remainder of the Expedition 43 crew arrives later this month.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, March 27 U.S. time (March 28 Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the complex collecting valuable biomedical data that will inform future deep space, long-duration missions.

Some of the return cargo flown aboard this Soyuz was used as part of research investigations aboard the International Space Station. Researchers on the ground are waiting on the return of 17 area dosimeters from one such study, the Area Passive Dosimeter for Life-Science Experiments in Space (Area PADLES). These area dosimeters continuously monitored radiation throughout Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module. The dosimeters gathered information about space radiation to help manage exposure and provide protection to crew members.

Researchers may use data from Area PADLES to design new radiation monitoring equipment for astronauts and people who work in medical or industrial areas with potential radiation exposure. This knowledge also may help develop better protective measures for the life sciences studies that occur within Kibo. Futhermore, the results from this research could improve design for future spacecraft structures that will shield internal occupants from radiation.

› Read more about Area PADLES.

Russian scientists are expecting the return of two incubation containers with planarian worms aboard this Soyuz spacecraft. The Effect of Weightlessness on Processes of Regeneration by Electrophysiological and Morphological Factors (Regeneratsiya-Planaria (Regeneration-Girardia)) investigation is an assessment of the impact of microgravity on the structural and functional regeneration of amputated organs and tissues of planarian worms.

Planarian worms, known for their regenerative processes, can be cut into pieces and each piece can grow back into a complete organism. Study of these organisms in microgravity may have implications for human health and disease, including development of methods for repairing damaged tissue from injury or physical impairment.

› Read more about Regeneration-Girardia
› Read more about model organisms in space station research.

Expedition 42 Trio Undocks for Voyage Home

Soyuz TMA-14M Undocks
The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft undocks with the Expedition 42 trio and backs away from the Poisk module of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

After spending 167 days aboard the International Space Station, Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova undocked from the station at 6:44 p.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. Samokutyaev, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.

They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 41-second deorbit burn at 9:16 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 10:07 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The departure of Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova marks the end of Expedition 42. The Expedition 43 crew members, Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos will continue research and maintenance aboard the station and will be joined on March 27 by three additional crew members, NASA’s Scott Kelly and Roscosmos’ Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 9 p.m.

Here is the timeline for Expedition 42’s landing.

Wednesday, March 11

EST                            EVENT

9:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing coverage

9:16 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)

9:20 p.m.                    Soyuz deorbit burn complete

9:42 p.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)

9:45 p.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)

9:53 p.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.5 miles)

10:07 p.m.                 Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Expedition 42 Trio Enters Soyuz and Closes Hatches

Expedition 42 crew
The Expedition 42 trio of station Commander Barry Wilmore, Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova says goodbye to their station crewmates before entering their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

At 3:34 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-14M spacecraft. Expedition 42 crew members Barry Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos are preparing to undock at 6:44 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 6:15 p.m.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 9:16 p.m. and will lead to a landing at 10:07 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 9 p.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Homecoming Day for Expedition 42 Trio

Expedition 42 Trio
JSC2014-E-079951 (19 June 2014) — NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore (left), Expedition 41 flight engineer and Expedition 42 commander; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, both Expedition 41/42 flight engineers, attired in Russian Sokol launch and entry suits, take a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

Today is homecoming day for International Space Station Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) as they prepare for landing in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft at 10:07 p.m. EDT this evening, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

At this time, there are no concerns or issues being worked.

Wilmore handed over command of the orbiting complex to fellow NASA astronaut Terry Virts in a ceremony on Tuesday, March 10. When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 43 formally will begin.

NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at https://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

Here is a timeline of the Expedition 42 undocking and landing.

Wednesday, March 11

EDT                            EVENT

3:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 farewell & hatch closure coverage

3:25 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M/space station hatch closure

6:15 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M undocking coverage

6:42 p.m.                    Soyuz undock command sent

6:44 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M undocks from space station

6:47 p.m.                    Soyuz manual separation burn

9:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing coverage

9:16 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)

9:20 p.m.                    Soyuz deorbit burn complete

9:42 p.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)

9:45 p.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)

9:53 p.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.6 miles)

10:07 p.m.                 Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Homebound Trio Packing Up Before Tuesday’s Change of Command

Earth View with Solar Array and Radiator
ISS042E292504 (03/01/2015) — U.S. astronaut Terry Virts observed this scene from the International Space Station on Mar. 1, 2015. He sent this image via Twitter with the remark, “The camera doesn’t do it justice – floating in space, looking down on creation, seeing new color shades”.

Expedition 42 crew members Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova are two days away from ending their stay aboard the International Space Station. The trio is packing gear and cleaning crew quarters as they prepare to undock in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft Wednesday at 6:44 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 10:07 p.m.

› Check out the live NASA TV coverage schedule of Expedition 42 undocking activities

Wilmore, the commander of Expedition 42, will handover control of the orbital laboratory Tuesday to NASA astronaut Terry Virts who will command Expedition 43. The Change of Command Ceremony will take place live on NASA TV at 10:25 a.m.

Meanwhile, advanced microgravity science and laboratory maintenance is ongoing aboard the space station. Among the experiments, the crew studied body size and shape in space for suit sizing and looked at airway inflammation in astronauts. Ethernet cables were also installed in the Harmony module that will enable future commercial crew vehicles to communicate with a pair of upcoming International Docking Adapters.

› Read more about the Body Measures experiment
› Read more about the Airway Monitoring study

Science and Microbe Checks as Expedition 42 Trio Preps for Departure

Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos are in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow as part of traditional pre-launch ceremonies, Friday, March 6, 2015. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti were in the U.S. Quest airlock conducting airflow monitor tests, measurements and calibrations. The tests were part of the Airway Monitoring experiment that is looking for possible indicators of airway inflammation in astronauts during spaceflight.

› Read more about the Airway Monitoring experiment

Their crewmate Anton Shkaplerov worked in the Zarya cargo module sampling equipment surfaces for microbial analysis. He also photographed the condition of the surfaces inside the Zarya module.

Their homebound crewmates Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore, Soyuz TMA-14M Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova practiced a Soyuz descent drill ahead of their March 11 departure and landing in Kazakhstan.

The next trio of space station to crewmates to launch to the International Space Station conducted a news conference Friday then laid flowers at the Kremlin Wall at the Red Square in Moscow. One Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko along with Soyuz TMA-16M Commander Gennady Padalka are set to launch March 27 to join their Expedition 43 crewmates.

Expedition 42 Gets Ready for Crew Swap

Expedition 42 Crew Patch
ISS042-S-001 (April 2013)— The rectangular-shaped design portrays the International Space Station orbiting planet Earth with its solar array wings spread wide. Facing the sun with the lower left outboard solar array feathered, the left array portrays a prominent number “4” and the fully deployed arrays on the right form the Roman numeral version of “2,” which signifies the two increment crews which, together, comprise the six-member international Expedition “42” crew. The crew and all supporting personnel around the world are also represented by the six stars adorning the sky around the complex.

Soyuz TMA-14M Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova are counting to their departure March 11 with Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore. The two cosmonauts trained on Soyuz descent procedures and checked out emergency communications gear. Wilmore also prepared for his departure and began packing gear for the return home.

Meanwhile, One-Year crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are in Star City, Russia, getting ready for final qualification exams in the Soyuz trainer. They are at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center preparing for their launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft March 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The veteran space duo will take a six-hour, four-orbit ride to the International Space Station where they will live and work until March 2016.

One-Year Crew Patch
JSC2014-E-077266 (July 2014) — This patch represents the historic one-year expedition to the International Space Station, spanning Increments 43 through 46. The ISS, an orbiting laboratory above the Earth, provides a unique environment in which to study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. This one-year mission will pave the way for future pursuits in space exploration of humankind on longer journeys to farther destinations.

Progress 58 Docks to Station’s Zvezda Service Module

International Space Station Configuration
There are now four spacecraft docked to the International Space Station including the newly arrived ISS Progress 58 space freighter as Feb. 17, 2015. Credit: NASA

Traveling about 257 miles above the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico, the unpiloted Progress 58 Russian cargo ship docked at 11:57 a.m. EST to the rear port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station. The craft is delivering three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory. Progress 58 is scheduled to remain docked to the space station until August.

Meanwhile, astronauts in the U.S. segment of the station are reviewing procedures for a trio of spacewalks. The first is set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts will exit the orbital lab to set the stage for a pair of new commercial crew vehicle docking ports to be installed later this year.

Outside the station on Sunday, robotics controllers on the ground maneuvered the Canadarm2 with the Dextre attached to remove and replace a faulty Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM). The RPCM provides backup commanding capability to the port Thermal Radiator Rotating Joint.

For more information about the current crew and the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Dragon Readied for Launch, European Ship Prepped for Departure

Space Station Configuration
There will be five spacecraft at the International Space Station when the Dragon commercial craft arrives Jan. 12. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 42 crew is getting ready for a delivery aboard the Dragon commercial cargo craft as well as next month’s departure of Europe’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5).

The weather looks favorable for Saturday’s planned launch of Dragon aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:47 a.m. EST. Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station Monday morning carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, payloads and critical research.

› Read more about Saturday’s launch and television coverage
› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts worked on readying the ATV-5 resupply craft for it’s undocking from the Zvezda service module and departure Feb. 27. It will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Read more about the launch and docking of the ATV-5 last summer.

New Trio Joins Expedition 42 During Crew Greeting Ceremony

Expediiton 42 Crew Greeting Ceremony
In the front row, from left are the newest Expedition 42 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts. In the back are Elena Serova, Commander Barry Wilmore and Alexander Samokutyaev. They are in the Zvezda service module for a traditional crew greeting ceremony with family and mission officials on the ground. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency joined their Expedition 42 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at midnight EST. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.

Expedition 42 will continue to take advantage of the orbital lab’s unique microgravity environment and expand the scope of research. The crew will perform experiments that cover human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development and Earth observations as well as engage in educational activities. They are scheduled to greet a host of cargo vehicles during their mission, including a number of U.S. commercial resupply flights, two Russian Progress resupply missions and the departure of the final European ATV cargo spacecraft. The crew will conduct up to three U.S. spacewalks.

Wilmore, Samoukutyaev and Serova will return home in March 2015. At that time Virts will become commander for Expedition 43. Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will return to Earth in May 2015.

To learn more about Expedition 42, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1yMQKPe.

To follow Twitter updates from NASA’s Expedition 42 astronauts, visit:

http://www.twitter.com/AstroTerry
http://www.twitter.com/AntonAstrey
http://www.twitter.com/AstroSamantha

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Expedition 42 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS, #Exp42 and #Soyuz. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.