Roscosmos

Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti during a press conference on November 22, 2014 (Photo ESA–S. Corvaja)

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.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced that the Progress M-27M spacecraft disintegrated in an uncontrolled reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere. Officially, the cargo space has ceased to exist at 02.04 UTC of Friday falling over the Pacific Ocean. It was the inevitable conclusion of a mission that started badly on April 28, 2015, with a serious problem that had caused the impossibility to take control of the Progress to send it to the International Space Station, where it was supposed to bring supplies.

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz 2-1A rocket (Photo courtesy TsENKI. All rights reserved)

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has officially given up hope of taking control of the Progress M-27M spacecraft. The attempts to contact it made on Tuesday and Wednesday had no success. Yesterday the docking to the ISS was called off and then the cargo spacecraft has been declared lost. The consequence is that it will fall into the atmosphere with no control disintegrating with all supplies it’s carrying.

Astronaut Scott Kelly with cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko in front of a model of the Soyuz rocked used for the launch (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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.

Cosmonauts Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev and astronaut Barry Wilmore assisted after their landing (Image NASA TV)

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.