Space Stations

Andreas Mogensen, Aidyn Aimbetov and Gennady Padalka assisted after their landing with the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago, cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen came back to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. Padalka spent just over five months on the International Space Station, where he arrived on March 28, 2015 as part of Expedition 43. Aimbetov and Mogensen spent only a few days on the Station, where they arrived on September 4, 2015.

The SoyuzTMA-18M spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (Image ESA)

A little while ago the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. On board there are ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen and cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Aidyn Aimbetov. The three of then were launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last Wednesday. In a couple of hours the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-18M and the Station will be opened and the newcomers will be welcomed by the rest of the crew.

The Japanese space cargo ship HTV-5 Kounotori captured by the International Space Station's robotic arm (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the HTV-5 “Kounotori” spacecraft was captured by the robotic arm Canadarm2 of the International Space Station, operated by Kimiya Yui assisted by Kjell Lindgren. The Japanese space cargo ship, which blasted off last Wednesday, is carrying food, water, scientific experiments, propellant and various hardware. After its capture, it will take a little while before the HTV-5 starts getting moved to its berthing location on the Harmony module.

The space lettuce growing system (Photo Orbital Technologies/NASA)

Yesterday the crew of the International Space Station ate some salad. It seems a very trivial act but it was based on lettuce grown on the Station as part of the Veg-01 experiment that is specifically intended to study the growth of plants in a microgravity environment. The ultimate goal is to enable self-sufficiency in the food production during outer space trips and in space colonies.

Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui during a press conference (Photo NASA)

A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after almost exactly six hours reached the International Space Station carrying Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui. The Soyuz traveled on the fast path normally used. There were a couple of little problems because one of the spacecraft’s solar panels didn’t deploy and after the arrival it took longer than expected to balance the air pressure with the Station but in the end everything went well.