A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was captured by the robotic arm Canadarm2 from the International Space Station. The Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, assisted by commander Terry Virts, managed the operation and started moving the Dragon to the docking point of the Harmony module. The spacecraft was launched last Tuesday.
A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after almost exactly six hours reached the International Space Station carrying astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko. The Soyuz traveled on the fast path normally used.
Generally, the members of the International Space Station crew spend about six months in space, this time there there’s a change because a very special mission lasting one year is starting. Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year on the Station to make a series of more in-depth studies on human beings reactions to life in the microgravity of space.
A few hours ago, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft, which landed without problems in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent almost six months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on September 25, 2014. Initially, they were part of Expedition 41, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 42 with Barry Wilmore as Station commander.
Yesterday, Commander Barry Wilmore and astronaut Terry Virts completed the third spacewalk in eight days to install various new equipment on the International Space Station. They’re part of the system called C2V2 (Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles) that will serve to allow the docking of the new private spacecraft that will enter service in a few years.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced the plan to keep on supporting the collaboration with the International Space Station until 2024. Subsequently, Russia’s plan is to build its own space station that will serve for the national space activities. It could also be used as a basis for future Russian expeditions to the Moon to begin around 2030.