Six International Space Station residents will spend a week working together in low-Earth orbit before splitting up on October 21. As the new Expedition 64 trio gets used to life in space, four more astronauts are planning to join them in November.
Three new station crew members are adapting to living and working in space after a short trip to the orbiting lab in their Soyuz MS-17 crew ship on Wednesday. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov are each beginning their second mission in microgravity. The experienced pair, including fellow crewmate and new space-flyer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov from Roscosmos, will conduct their space research mission until April of next year.
Meanwhile, Rubins got right to work today and assisted station Commander Chris Cassidy servicing hardware inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov unpacked gear from their Soyuz spacecraft. The Russian duo also joined Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner for handover activities to get up to speed with lab systems.
Cassidy and Vagner are also getting ready to return to Earth on October 21 with Soyuz Commander Anatoly Ivanishin. The trio has begun packing station gear and personal items inside their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft. They are also in the process of handing over station responsibilities to the new Expedition 64 trio.
Back on Earth, four astronauts are getting ready to launch to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle for the company’s first operational crew mission targeted to launch no sooner than early-to-mid November. Commander Mike Hopkins of NASA will lead Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi and stay in space until the Spring.