Four space station crew members will go to the splashdown on Tuesday

By | March 12, 2024

A SpaceX Crew Dragon ferry with four long-duration crew members on board separated from the International Space Station on Monday. It cleared the way for re-entry and splashdown early Tuesday to conclude a 199-day mission.

NASA Commander Jasmine Moghbeliastronaut from the European Space Agency Andreas MogensenJapanese kite Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov separated from the top port of the station’s forward Harmony module at 11:20 a.m. EDT as the two spacecraft sailed 425 miles above the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

From left to right, Crew 7 astronauts pose for a group photo aboard the International Space Station: cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Commander Jasmin Moghbeli and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.  /Credit: NASAFrom left to right, Crew 7 astronauts pose for a group photo aboard the International Space Station: cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Commander Jasmin Moghbeli and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.  /Credit: NASA

From left to right, Crew 7 astronauts pose for a group photo aboard the International Space Station: cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Commander Jasmin Moghbeli and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa. /Credit: NASA

“I am very sad to leave the station, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone,” Moghbeli, a Navy helicopter pilot, said on Sunday. “You know, there’s a few of us on board, but there’s a whole international team on the ground around the world making this happen.

“To our friends and families: they bear the burden of what we do here as we leave for six months. So thank you to everyone.”

The Crew Dragon was expected to follow a fiery northwest-southeast path through the heart of America at 5:50 a.m. Tuesday and crash into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. SpaceX recovery crews were sent to the splashdown zone to await the arrival of Crew Dragon Endurance. Nice weather was expected.

Moghbeli’s crew launched from Kennedy Space Center on August 26 and will have completed 3,184 orbits and traveled 134.4 million miles upon landing. In addition to extensive research, Moghbeli and Soyuz crewmate Loral O’Hara also conducted a spacewalk last November.

“This is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, and I was afraid that I would come here and maybe be disappointed and that it wouldn’t meet my expectations, but the international partnership that we have here and the space station are just incredible. It’s indicative of what we can do when we work together,” Moghbeli said.

Borisov agreed that leaving the station was “a bittersweet moment”.

“We have been here for more than six months, but time has flown very quickly, and it is time to return, and it is a bit sad,” he said. “But I’m very happy that we’ve done all the work we set out to do. The station is working fine, all the experiments are continuing and we know we’re turning it over to a great team.”

Crew 7’s replacements – Crew 8 Commander Matthew Dominick, co-pilot Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps and cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin – launched to the station on March 3, briefly increasing the laboratory crew to 11. With the departure of Crew 7 the laboratory is now staffed with the four Crew 8 pilots together with Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko, cosmonaut Nikolaj Chub and O’Hara of NASA.

From left to right, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson, Soyuz MS-25 commander Oleg Novitskiy and Belarusian guest cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya will deliver a new Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station later this month.  Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya and NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara will return to Earth on April 2 aboard the older Soyuz MS-24 ferry ship, while Dyson will remain in orbit for six months.  She will return to Earth in September with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who are halfway through a year-long mission.  They return to Earth aboard the Soyuz spacecraft MS-25.  /Credit: NASAFrom left to right, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson, Soyuz MS-25 commander Oleg Novitskiy and Belarusian guest cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya will deliver a new Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station later this month.  Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya and NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara will return to Earth on April 2 aboard the older Soyuz MS-24 ferry ship, while Dyson will remain in orbit for six months.  She will return to Earth in September with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who are halfway through a year-long mission.  They return to Earth aboard the Soyuz spacecraft MS-25.  /Credit: NASA

Kononenko and Chub were launched aboard the Soyuz MS-24/70S ferry ship last September and are halfway through a year-long mission. They will need a new Soyuz for the trip back to Earth next September.

On March 21, the Soyuz spacecraft MS-25/71S will be delivered to the space station by cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, Belarusian guest cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya and NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson. Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya and O’Hara will return to Earth on April 2 on the same Soyuz that brought Kononenko, Chub and O’Hara to the station last year.

Kononenko, Chub and Dyson will use the Novitskiy-supplied Soyuz for their journey home in September.

During a change of command ceremony on Sunday, Mogensen, the outgoing commander of Expedition 70, turned over the station to Kononenko. On April 2, when Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya and O’Hara leave, Expedition 71 begins.

“We wish you the best of luck,” Moghbeli radioed to the station crew as Crew 7 departed. “For those who remain aboard Expedition 71, we hope it is as filled with laughter and science as ours. Loral, we’ll see you in a few weeks. And we left you some peanut butter and tortillas in Node One.”

“Congratulations on your departure,” O’Hara replied. “I miss you already, and thank you for that very generous gift! …Enjoy the last few hours in orbit and soft landings. I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.”

Kononenko now holds the record for the most cumulative time spent in space during his four missions, surpassing the previous record holder earlier this year.

“On my first mission in 2015, I had the pleasure of flying with Gennady Padalka, who at the time set the record (multi-flight endurance) of 878 days in space,” Mogensen said during the change of command ceremony.

“You have now surpassed that,” he told Kononenko, “and you are well on your way to achieving a thousand days in space, which is an incredible achievement. There is no one with more experience than you when it comes to the International Space Station. So I’ll probably leave it in the best hands possible.”

Kononenko will reach the 1,000-day milestone on June 4. By the time he returns to Earth, he will have spent more than three years in space.

Why I have it

The art of ‘Gruff’, a film that is handmade

Jimmy Kimmel on hosting the Oscars

Leave a Reply

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