Russian American Soyuz Trio with NASA’s Kate Rubins Returns Safely to Earth after 6 Month Stay Aboard International Space Station

Russian American Soyuz Trio with NASA’s Kate Rubins Returns Safely to Earth after 6 Month Stay Aboard International Space Station
Expedition 64 Soyuz Landing: The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 64 crew members Kate Rubins of NASA, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, Saturday, April 17, 2021. Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov returned after 185 days in space having served as Expedition 63-64 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  A Russian American trio of spaceflyers including one NASA astronaust and two cosmonauts return safely to Earth this morning seated inside their cramped Russian Soyuz capsule, Saturday, April, 17 after an action packed and science filled six month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, safely touched down in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan on Saturday, following 185 days living and working aboard the massive orbiting ISS research laboratory.

Expedition 64 Soyuz Landing: The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 64 crew members Kate Rubins of NASA, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, Saturday, April 17, 2021. Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov returned after 185 days in space having served as Expedition 63-64 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The trio boarded their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and closed the hatches Friday afternoon – thus concluding Expedition 64 amidst a record setting number of astronaut and cosmonaut comings and goings on the orbiting outpost this month of April.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft moments after undocking from the station on April 16th, 2021. Credit: NASA TV

After making final preparations for the Earth return they undocked and departed the station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday, plummeted through the Earth’s atmosphere protected from the scorching heats of reentry and finally landed safely three and a half hours later under a single huge orange and white parachute at 12:55 a.m. EDT (10:55 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

 

Watch this animation of the Soyuz descent:

Overall this marked the second six month spaceflight for veterans Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for rookie Kud-Sverchkov.

Post landing Russian recovery forces opened the capsule and gently hoisted each of the crew members out of their seats, placed them in cushioned chairs and conducted medical checks as is customary.

All three were fit and healthy.

Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is helped out of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft just minutes after she, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov returned after 185 days in space having served as Expedition 63-64 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The trio soon split up and were helicoptered out to their next steps for rest and recovery.

Rubins will return to her home in Houston, and Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will return to their homes and training base in Star City, Russia.

The three-member Expedition 64 crew from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). From left are, Kate Rubins of NASA,Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos. Credit: NASA

They left behind a station crew now numbering the normal seven to begin the Expedition 65 increment

3 had launched aboard a newly arrived Soyuz MS-18 craft that briefly enlarged the crew size to 10 for the past week.

The newly-expanded 10-member station crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family members and mission officials on Earth following arrival of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on April 9, 2021. Credit: NASA TV

The other 4 station crew members had launched aboard the Space Crew Dragon Resilience on the NASA Crew-1 mission and they are also scheduled to depart soon on April 28.

The NASA SpaceX Crew-2 mission is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 22 aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon raised vertical on April 16, 2021 at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch slated for 6:11 a.m. EDT, April 22, 2021. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

April is a very busy month for visiting vehicles at the ISS

Overall the crew swaps involve a record setting 14 astronauts – 7 up and 7 down.

The fast paced record setting  crew swaps include 2 launches and 2 landings by four different spaceships occurring every week in April beginning with the Soyuz liftoff April 9.

“This April is a big month in @Space_Station history! For the first time, @NASA_Astronauts are scheduled to launch or land each week in four different spacecraft,” NASA tweeted earlier.

4/9 – Exp. 65 launch

4/17 – Exp. 64 landing

4/22 – Crew-2 launch

4/28 – Crew-1 splashdown

Further details from NASA:

During their mission, Rubins and her crewmates welcomed NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard the first long-duration commercial crew spaceflight. Rubins completed two spacewalks alongside NASA astronaut Victor Glover and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, bringing her career total to four spacewalks. She returns to Earth with a total of 300 days across her two flights, the fourth most days in space by a U.S. female astronaut.

Rubins spent hundreds of hours working on new space station experiments, building on investigations she conducted during her first mission, including heart research and multiple microbiology studies. She advanced her work in DNA sequencing, which could allow astronauts to diagnose an illness in space or identify microbes growing at the space station. Rubins collected hundreds of microbial samples at different locations within the space station for the 3DMM study to construct a 3D map of bacteria and bacterial products throughout the station. By advancing understanding of the orbiting laboratory’s microbiome, this work helps identify potential risks and supports developing countermeasures to mitigate those risks.

Rubins also worked on the Cardinal Heart experiment, which studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue levels. Results could provide new understanding of heart problems on Earth, help identify new treatments, and support development of screening measures to predict cardiovascular risk prior to spaceflight.

Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov’s mission began Oct. 14, 2020, when their spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their spacecraft docked to the Earth-facing port of the Rassvet module after a two-orbit, three-hour flight.

On March 19, the trio donned their spacesuits and boarded the Soyuz MS-17 for a port relocation maneuver, moving the spacecraft from the Rassvet module to the space-facing port of the Poisk module. The relocation allowed the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and its crew to dock to the Rassvet module upon their arrival on April 9.

When Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov departed the station, Expedition 65 officially began with NASA astronaut Shannon Walker serving as station commander, marking the first time that a Houston native has done so. Walker will lead the crew until the departure of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience on Wednesday, April 28, when command of the station will be handed over to JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

On Thursday, April 22, the Expedition 65 crew will grow to 11 with the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, composed of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA’s Hoshide. Crew-2 will be the second 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.

…..

From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, react to comments after arriving at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is the second operational mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet, and Hoshide are scheduled to launch at 6:11 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Crew-2 will remain aboard until fall 2021 and overlap with SpaceX Crew-3 launching in Fall 2021 – read our story.

 

Watch my commentary at WKMG CBS 6 Orlando TV news includes my analysis of President Biden’s new $24.7 Billion budget proposal for NASA

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2021/04/12/president-biden-proposes-247-billion-nasa-budget/

Ken will be onsite at KSC for the Crew-2 mission launch on NET April 22.

Ken Kremer of Space UpClose covering the Crew-2 mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about ISS, Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.

………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

Soyuz MS-17 undocking video

 

x

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.