Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted six-and-a-half months.
Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers landed their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 3:14 a.m. CDT (2:14 p.m. local time) after undocking from the space station’s Rassvet module at 11:47 p.m. June 30. The trio, which arrived at the station Dec. 23, 2011, spent a total of 193 days in space, 191 of which were aboard the station.
During their expedition, the crew supported more than 200 scientific investigations involving more than 400 researchers around the world. The studies ranged from integrated investigations of the human cardiovascular and immune systems to fluid, flame and robotic research.
Over the next several weeks, NASA Television will provide coverage of the departure of three crew members from the International Space Station and prelaunch, launch and arrival activities of three new residents.
Coverage will begin Wednesday, June 20, with the first of a series of Video Files of Expedition 32/33 Flight Engineers Suni Williams of NASA, Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) participating in training and ceremonial activities at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
On June 29, NASA TV will broadcast a change of command ceremony aboard the orbiting laboratory in which Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos will hand over the reins of command to Gennady Padalka. Padalka, a cosmonaut for Roscosmos, will become the International Space Station’s first three-time commander. When the Soyuz TMA-03M undocks on June 30, Expedition 31 will transition to Expedition 32 under Padalka’s command.
Kononenko and Flight Engineers Don Pettit of NASA and Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency will depart the station in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft June 30 for a July 1 landing in Kazakhstan to complete their six-and-a-half-month mission. Two weeks later, July 14 (July 15 in Kazakhstan), Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko will launch to the station in the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The three will arrive at the station July 16 to join Padalka and Flight Engineers Joe Acaba of NASA and Sergei Revin of Roscosmos, who have been aboard the station since mid-May.
NASA’s History Program Office has released the fourth volume of the English translation of Russian space pioneer Boris Chertok’s highly acclaimed memoirs, Rockets and People: The Moon Race.
Much has been written in the West on the history of the Soviet space program but few Westerners have read direct first-hand accounts of the men and women who were behind the many Russian accomplishments in exploring space. The memoirs of academician Chertok, who worked under the legendary Sergey Korolev, fill that gap.
Covering the dramatic years of the Soviet human space program from 1968-1974, this fourth volume addresses the development of the mammoth N-1 booster – the Soviet competitor to the U.S. Saturn V moon rocket. Chertok also discusses the origins of the Soviet space station program, from Salyut to Mir. In addition, he examines the tragic Soyuz 11 mission and provides an overview of the birth of the Energiya-Buran space shuttle program. His account provides a fascinating inside look at the political, technological, and personal conflicts at a time when the Soviet space program was at its zenith.
Two cosmonauts will conduct a six-hour spacewalk Thursday, Feb. 16, to continue outfitting the International Space Station. NASA Television will broadcast the spacewalk beginning at 7:45 a.m. CST.
Expedition 30 Russian Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov will move one of the two Strela cranes from the Pirs docking compartment to begin preparing for its replacement next year with a new laboratory and docking module. The 46-foot crane will be relocated to the Poisk module for future assembly and maintenance work. The duo also will install five debris shields on the Zvezda service module and, if time permits, a small experiment on the forward section of the module, an experiment sample pack on Poisk and support struts on the Pirs ladder.
Both spacewalkers will wear Russian Orlan suits bearing blue stripes and equipped with NASA helmet cameras. They will emerge from the Pirs airlock at about 8:15 a.m.
NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Russian Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands launched to the International Space Station aboard their Soyuz TMA-03M craft at 7:16 a.m. CST Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time), from Kazakhstan.
Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers are scheduled to dock to the Rassvet module of the station at 9:22 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23. They will receive a holiday welcome from station Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory since mid-November.
NASA Television will provide live docking coverage beginning at 8:45 a.m. Friday. Hatch opening and welcoming ceremonies will occur about three hours later.
Three International Space Station crew members safely returned to Earth Thursday, Sept. 15, wrapping up a six-month mission of research and exploration.
NASA’s Ron Garan, Expedition 28 commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineer Alexander Samokutyaev, both of the Russian Federal Space Agency, landed their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:59 a.m. EDT (9:59 a.m. in Kazakhstan). The trio, which arrived at the station on April 6, had been scheduled to land on Sept. 8, but that was postponed because of the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo ship.
NASA and its international partners have agreed to a tentative launch schedule with crew flights to the International Space Station resuming on Nov. 14.
The Space Station Control Board, with representation from all partner agencies, set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s findings on the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo craft. The dates may be adjusted to reflect minor changes in vehicle processing timelines.