A little while ago, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent nearly six and a half months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on November 24, 2014. They were initially part of the Expedition 42, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 43 with Terry Virts as Station commander.
Yesterday, the International Space Station’s PMM (Permanent Multipurpose Module) Leonardo was moved: it used to be connected to the Unity module and was repositioned to be connected to the Tranquillity module. This operation is part of the Station’s extension that in the coming months will prepare the docking hatches for the new American spacecraft that should enter service in 2017.
The schedule for the International Space Station crew rotation has been officially changed. Following the mishap with the Russian spacecraft Progress M-27M it was decided to postpone the launch of the next three members so the three ones of the Expedition 42/43 – Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov – will remain on the Station at least until the beginning of June.
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.