Mikhail Kornienko, Sergey Volkov and Scott Kelly assisted after their landing (photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A few hours ago, the cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko and the American astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. Volkov spent about six months on the International Space Station, where he arrived on September 4, 2015 as part of Expedition 45. Kornienko and Kelly spent 340 days on the Station, where they arrived on March 28, 2015 as part of Expedition 43.

Artistic concept of the Dream Chaser Cargo System docked with the International Space Station (Image courtesy Sierra Nevada Corporation. All rights reserved)

NASA announced the companies selected for the new contracts for cargo transport to the International Space Station. This is the second selection so the agency calls them CRS-2 (Commercial Resupply Services 2) and concern the transport of supplies as well as the disposal of waste or otherwise of what is no longer needed and the transport of cargo from the Station to return it to NASA. This time the agency selected three companies reneweing the contracts with SpaceX and Orbital ATK and also selecting Sierra Nevada Corporation.

The Progress MS-1 space cargo ship blasting off atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the Progress MS-1 spaceship blasted off atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and and got in route. This is the latest evolution of the Progress space freighter which began the resupply mission to the International Space Station also referred to as Progress 62. The spacecraft was launched on the route that requires a two-day journey.