Monday, September 12, 2016

Expedition 48 Returns to Earth

It's good to be home. The space voyagers rest and remember how gravity affects their bodies after being helped from their Soyuz return capsule.

After a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 48 has safely returned to Earth to being debriefings and analysis of their medical situation and the performance of their tasks. The Russian spacecraft was TMA-20M, which had left the Earth last March on the 129th Soyuz flight. The craft was under the command of Alexey Ovchinin and crewed by Expedition 48 commander Jeff Williams and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka. 
Ground views of the fiery re-entry of the Soyuz capsule and the burn-up of the non-protective modules.
Besides working on hundreds of science experiments during their stay, the Expedition 48 crew highlights include the installation of the inflatable Bigelow module for testing, the installation of a new International space dock mechanism, receiving robotic supply spacecraft, and two EVAs for servicing the station and installing the spacedock.
Back in the atmosphere. Soyuz hangs beneath a fully open parachute.
Touchdown took place in the steppes of Kazakhstan. With the departure of the Expedition 48 crew, Expedition 49 now begins on the ISS with the three remaining crew: Commander Anatoly Ivanishin (RosCosmos), Takuya Onishi (Japan Space Agency), and Kate Rubin (NASA). They will be reinforced later this month when another Soyuz lifts off from Baikonur, carrying Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov, and Andrey Borisenko. The launch is scheduled for September 23rd.

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