Hatches open, station crew expands to six

Front row from left: Expedition 64 crew members Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov join Expedition 63 crew members. Back row, from left: Ivan Vagner, Anatoly Ivanishin and Chris Cassidy inside the space station’s Zvezda service module. (NASA photograph)

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos joined Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 7:07 a.m., EDT, Oct. 14.

The arrival temporarily restores the station’s crew complement to six for the remainder of Expedition 63.

Expedition 64 begins Oct. 21, with the departure of Cassidy, Vagner, and Ivanishin in the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that brought them to the station on April 9. Cassidy will hand command of the station to Ryzhikov during a ceremony with all crew members that is scheduled for 4:15 p.m., Oct. 20 and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The Expedition 64 crew will conduct research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research and more. During Rubins’ first spaceflight in 2016, she became the first person to sequence DNA in space. Research conducted in microgravity helps NASA prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, and contributes to improvements for life on Earth. Follow Rubins during her space mission on Facebook and Instagram.

This is the second spaceflight for Rubins and Ryzhikov. Kud-Sverchkov becomes the 241st person to visit the unique microgravity laboratory, and the trio will be aboard to celebrate the 20th anniversary of uninterrupted human presence since the Expedition 1 crew arrived Nov. 2, 2000. Humanity’s home in space has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from people in 108 countries and areas.

During Expedition 64, the arrival of Crew-1 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on the first operational commercial mission to the space station will bring four more crew members, expanding a long-duration Expedition crew to seven people for the first time. Crew-1 is currently targeted for launch in November.

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