Sunday, September 13, 2015

ISS Starts Expedition 45

Scott Kelly, left, receives command of the ISS from Gennady Padalkin (in red). Picture credits NASA TV and NASA.

On Saturday, September 5, The astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station held a ceremony marking the change of command from the Expedition 44 commander, cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, to astronaut Scott Kelly. Officially, the new expedition began on Sep. 11 when Padalka and flight engineers Andreas Mogensen (ESA) and Aidyn Ambetov (Kazakh Space Agency) undocked in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. 
Padalka and crew landing in Kazakhstan.

The landing complete's Padalka's fifth space mission. He now holds a record of 879 total days spent in space. The other two returning voyagers were visitors to the ISS and not part of an ISS expedition. Mogensen is from the European Space Agency, while Ambetov is the third cosmonaut to fly from Kazakhstan.  New Expedition 45 commander Scott Kelly, along with cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, is staying aboard the ISS for an entire year. Monday September 14 will mark the halfway-point for the long-duration mission.

Friday, September 4, 2015

And Now There Are Nine

Welcome aboard the ISS: (Front, L-R) Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Ambetov, Soyuz commander cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, and Danish astronaut (ESA) Andreas Mogensen.

Early this morning, at 3:39 a.m. Eastern time, Soyuz craft TMA-18M (Also designated Soyuz 44) docked with the International Space Station at the Russian Poisk module. After equalizing the atmospheres, the hatch was opened about three hours later and the crew entered the ISS.  Also aboard the craft are more radiation dose meters which monitor the amount of radiation astronauts are exposed to while in Earth orbit, and a special skinsuit designed to help with back pain as an atronaut's spine lengthens in the zero gravity.

Pictured from the ISS, Soyuz TMA-18M approaches docking.
Because the station has two members that are staying for an entire year, the crew of this Soyuz is not staying very long. Expedition 44 commander Padalka will leave for Earth on September 11 with Ambetov and Mogensen. They will return to Earth using Soyuz TMA-16M. Newly arrived cosmonaut Volkov will remain aboard the station for another six months, and will return with the year-long residents Kelly and Kornienko on the just-docked TMA-18M, next year in March. Expedition 44 members Lindgren, Konenenko, and Yui will stay in the station until December 2015, and they will return in TMA-17M.
The current parking situation on ISS.