Tech

May 14, 2014

Space station crew returns to Earth, lands safely in Kazakhstan

Tags:
/PRNewswire/

The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2014  — Three crew members from the International Space Station returned to Earth May 13 after 188 days in space, during which they orbited Earth more than 3,000 times and traveled almost 79.8 million miles.

Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Soyuz commander Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) touched down southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan at 9:58 p.m., EDT.

During Expedition 39, the crew participated in a variety of research, including a human immune system activation and suppression study and a protein crystal growth research study looking for proteins responsible for Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. The crew also installed a new plant growth chamber designed to expand in-orbit food production capabilities.

One of several key research focus areas during Expedition 39 was human health management for long duration space travel, as NASA and Roscosmos prepare for two crew members to spend one year aboard the space station in 2015.

The Expedition 39 crew adjusts to the full force of Earth’s gravity shortly after landing in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz spacecraft.

During their time aboard the orbiting laboratory, the trio welcomed three cargo spacecraft. A Russian ISS Progress cargo vehicle docked to the station, bringing tons of supplies, and another Progress craft conducted tests on an upgraded automated rendezvous system. In January, Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the station as part of Orbital’s first commercial resupply mission. In April, SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft to the station for the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission. Both capsules were loaded with cargo and science experiments. This was Orbital’s first of at least eight cargo flights to the space station, and it was the third of at least 12 flights for SpaceX scheduled through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Mastracchio, Tyurin and Wakata arrived at the station Nov. 7 bearing the torch used to light the Olympic flame at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, which marked the start of the 2014 Winter Games in February.

During his time on the orbiting complex, Mastracchio ventured outside the confines of the space station for three contingency spacewalks. The first two were to remove and replace a faulty cooling pump, and the third to remove and replace a failed backup computer relay box.

The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft backs away from the International Space Station shortly after undocking.

The space station is more than a scientific research platform. It also serves as a test bed to demonstrate new technology. With the arrival of SpaceX-3, the Expedition 39 crew unloaded new climbing legs for NASA’s Robonaut 2 (R2) humanoid robot. Designed to take over routine, dirty and potentially dangerous tasks from astronauts, R2 will take its first steps toward mobility after the legs are attached and tested in the coming months. Further upgrades and a battery backpack, necessary for the robot to operate completely untethered, will launch to the station later this year. Ground controllers using the station’s robotic arm also installed a new high-definition Earth-viewing camera system, referred to as HDEV, on the outside of the Columbus lab. HDEV is comprised of four commercially available HD cameras and streams online live video of Earth to online viewers around the world.

Having completed his fourth space station mission, Mastracchio now has spent 228 days in space. Wakata has spent 348 days in space on four flights and served as the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. Tyurin has accumulated 532 days in space on three flights, making him 13th on the all-time endurance list.

Expedition 40 now is operating aboard the station, with Steve Swanson of NASA in command of the orbiting laboratory. Swanson and his crewmates, Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos, will tend to the station as a three-person crew until the arrival in two weeks of three new crewmates: Reid Wiseman of NASA, Maxim Suraev of Roscosmos and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency. Wiseman, Suraev and Gerst are scheduled to launch from Kazakhstan May 28.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>