The return of three astronauts from the International Space Station marks the end of Expedition 45

Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui (Photo NASA)
Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui (Photo NASA)

A little while ago, cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. It was night when they landed and it was very cold so the crew that take care of assisting them was quicker than ever. They spent nearly five months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on July 23, 2015 as part of Expedition 44.

During the period spent on the International Space Station, the three crew members have been conducting various activities of ordinary maintenance and many scientific experiments. The total duration of the Expedition 44 and 45 has been slightly below normal but there was still a lot of work to do.

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren carried out two spacewalks, both of them together with Commander Scott Kelly, to perform some maintenance and repairs outside the International Space Station. The October 28 one lasted just over seven hours while the November 6 one lasted nearly eight hours.

On October 1, the Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-29M reached the International Space Station. According to the original schedule, the spacecraft was supposed to leave the Station a few days ago to disintegrate returning into Earth’s atmosphere but as it often happens priorities change.

One of the most urgent tasks was the arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft. This space freighter resumed its activity over a year after the failure of its previous mission. The activity of unloading of the many supplies arrived on the Cygnus will still keep the crew busy for some time.

Generally, when there’s a crew turn-over, the command of the International Space Station gets handed over. In this case, the beginning of Expedition 46 was marked only by the departure of three crew members but Scott Kelly, who’s carrying out the one-year mission, has maintained his role of Commander assumed at the beginning of Expedition 45. Instead, as it normally happens, in the coming days the three new members will complete the crew reaching the Station.

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