The return of three astronauts from the International Space Station marks the end of Expedition 53

Clockwise from top: Paolo Nespoli, Randy Bresnik and Sergey Ryazansky (Photo NASA)
Clockwise from top: Paolo Nespoli, Randy Bresnik and Sergey Ryazansky (Photo NASA)

A little while ago the astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli and the cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky returned to Earth on the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft, that landed without problems in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent almost 5 months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on July 28, 2017 as part of Expedition 52.

In Kazakhstan winter is coming and because of the low temperatures the three of them were quickly covered up and kept in the open as little as possible. Generally after a landing various celebration pictures get taken but when it’s cold this phase is shortened or cut out completely.

During the time spent on the International Space Station with Expedition 53, the three crew members have been conducting various maintenance activities and many scientific experiments. Other activities in the period concerned the arrival and departure of space cargo ships: a SpaceX Dragon completed its CRS-12 mission leaving the Station on September 17, the Russian Progress MS-7 arrived on October 16, the American Orbital ATK Cygnus “SS Gene Cernan” arrived on November 14.

During that time, 3 spacewalks were carried out. On October 5, Randy Bresnik spent almost 7 hours with his Expedition 53/54 colleague Mark Vande Hei to carry out maintenance work, especially on the Canadarm2 robotic arm. On October 10 the same two astronauts spent almost 6.5 hours in a further maintenance phase. On October 20, Randy Bresnik, this time together with his colleague Joe Acaba, spent almost 7 hours in the last phase of the maintenance of the Canadarm2 robotic arm and its extension Dextre.

On Wednesday, December 13, Randy Bresnik officially handed over the command of the International Space Station to the Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, marking the beginning of Expedition 54. The crew will be completed with the arrival of new members whose launch is scheduled for December 17. Despite the decision by the Russian space agency Roscosmos to reduce the number of cosmonauts on the Station, the full crew will still be composed of 6 members.

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft leaving the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft leaving the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

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