Three Return To Earth After Six-Month Mission On ISS

Three Return To Earth After Six-Month Mission On ISS”

NASA and Russian space agency officials were ready and waiting to welcome home the three Expedition 54 crew members, including NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, as well as cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos.

Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth on Wednesday, rounding off a mission of more than five months aboard the International Space Station.

Their departure from the I.S.S. marks the beginning of Expedition 55 by those remaining on the orbiting spacecraft.

Now operating the station are Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Scott Tingle, KG5NZA, and Norishige Kanai. Their departure marked the end of Expedition 54, the space station's 54th resident crew since November 2000. He ventured outside the space station on four spacewalks to perform work that included replacing and lubricating the Latching End Effectors on both ends of the Canadarm2. Three hours later, the Soyuz spacecraft will plunge into Earth's atmosphere before parachuting down to the steppe of Kazakhstan, where the crew is scheduled to land at 9:32 p.m. EST (0232 GMT, or 8:32 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan, on February 28).

Vande Hei logged 168 days in space on this, his first, mission.

A replacement crew, including former teacher Arnold, will lift off from Kazakhstan on March 21 and bring the space station back up to a full crew of six.

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"We didn't broke [sic] nearly anything. and hope we give something - good thing and helpful thing - for science", said Misurkin. "We are the first company in Europe to carry a free flyer, a kind of flying brain, to the ISS and to develop artificial intelligence for the crew on board the space station".

Misurkin, Acabaand and Vande Hei were part of ISS expeditions 53/54. Acaba completed one spacewalk and has now accrued 306 days in space on three missions.

In handing over the skipper's job to Shkaplerov, Misurkin joked that at least he and his two crewmates didn't break anything and hopefully accomplished some good science.

Three astronauts are back on Earth for the first time in months.

This involved providing the Watson AI with voice samples and photos of Gerst as well as procedures and plans of the Columbus module of the International Space Station.

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