ISS - Expedition 50 Mission patch.
April 7, 2017
Crew Packing Soyuz for Monday Landing
International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA
Two NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency astronaut headed into the weekend with a light day Friday. Meanwhile, the three cosmonauts from Roscosmos packed a Soyuz spacecraft for departure and worked on maintenance and science.
Commander Shane Kimbrough, who is returning to Earth early Monday, took it easy Friday aboard the International Space Station. He and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet mainly performed light duty tasks and continued their daily exercise to stay healthy in space.
Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are returning home Monday with Kimbrough, continued packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft that will parachute the trio to a landing in Kazakhstan after a 173 days in space.
Image above: This long exposure photograph shows the Earth, its atmospheric glow and stars from the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
Ryzhikov, who is on his first mission, will command the Soyuz during its undocking and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Borisenko and Kimbrough are both wrapping up their second visit to space.
Whitson will become station commander for the second time in her career Sunday less than 24 hours before her crewmates undock from the Poisk module. She stays behind with fellow Expedition 50-51 crew members Pesquet and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy.
Trio Packs for Homecoming
Three crew members aboard the International Space Station are packing up their gear for a homecoming on Monday. NASA also decided to extend the mission of an astronaut living aboard the station since November.
Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut will take a ride back to Earth early Monday inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will have completed a 173-day mission in space when they land Monday at 7:21 a.m. EDT in Kazakhstan. NASA TV will broadcast the departure and landing activities live on NASA website.
Image above: Expedition 50 crew members (from left) Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will depart the station Monday April 10 ending their stay in space. Image Credit: ROSCOSMOS.
Kimbrough has accumulated six spacewalks over two missions, including the STS-126 mission aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2008. Ryzhikov, who is on his first space mission, will be commanding the Soyuz spacecraft during its landing. Borisenko was last aboard the station in 2011 and is completing his second stint as a station crew member.
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson has been granted a three-month extension to her already record-breaking career aboard the station. She will stay in space until September as a member of Expeditions 50, 51 and 52. NASA managers wanted to ensure the station maintained a six-person crew to maximize research while Russia temporarily reduces its crew to two cosmonauts.
NASA TV to Air Return of Space Station Crew Members to Earth April 10
NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Adds Three Months to Record-Breaking Mission
Expedition 50: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition50/index.html
Expedition 51, Expedition 52: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/future.html
International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.
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