The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 9:20 a.m. EDT as they flew 270 miles above the South Pacific. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 64 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.
They have arrived on three different spacecraft. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos arrived on the Soyuz MS-18 after a two-orbit, three-hour flight following their launch from Kazakhstan at 3:42 a.m. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft October 14, 2020. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have been aboard since arriving November 16, 2020, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.
Expedition 65 begins Friday, April 16, with the departure of Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov. Ryzhikov will hand command of the station to Walker during a ceremony with all crew members that is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. April 15, and will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
The Expedition 65 crew will continue more than 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the station, conducting research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research and more. Research conducted in microgravity helps NASA prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, and contributes to improvements for life on Earth. Follow Vande Hei on Twitter during his mission.
This is the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov, who becomes the 243rd person to visit the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.
During Expedition 65, the arrival of Crew-2 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon will bring four more members to the International Space Station. Crew-2 is currently scheduled for launch on Earth Day, April 22. Crew-1, the first long-duration commercial crew mission, will return to Earth on April 28.