If you’re looking for something good on television this coming Friday, tune in to NASA television. Beginning at 1am EST complete coverage will begin of three crew members making their way back home from the International Space Station (ISS).
Returning from Expedition 45 are Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. December 11, 2015 will mark the conclusion of their 141 day mission aboard the ISS.
The Russian Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is scheduled to undock from the station at 4:49 am with the crew scheduled to land in Kazakhstan 8:12am EST or 7:12pm Kazakhstan time. NASA has published an itinerary from hatch closure to landing, with repeats of live coverage for those who sleep in (like myself):
- 1am Farewell
- 1:25am Hatch closure
- 4:30am Undocking procedures begin
- 4:49am Spacecraft undocks
- 7am Landing coverage begins
- 7:19am Deorbit burn
- 8:12am Landing
- 10am Repeat of video files of hatch closure, undocking and landing
- 9pm Repeat of video files of landing and post-landing activities interviews
When this three man crew undocks, Expedition 46 will officially begin aboard the ISS with NASA’s Scott Kelly assuming command. His crew will consist of Mikail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, both of Rocosmos. They will hold down the fort for three days until NASA’s Tim Kopra, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency arrive. They are scheduled to launch the following Tuesday, December 15 from Kazakhstan.
A typical mission tour is six months. However, Commander Kelly and Kornienko will be completing one year missions. Their long-duration space flight is to advance medical and scientific knowledge of the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges astronauts experience in such circumstances.
NASA has a “space clock” on their website that is tracking every minute of this mission. According to #YearInSpace Mission Clock at the time the gringa was pecking away at the keyboard composing this blog post the one year mission astronauts had logged 254:07:03:30(and counting) which translates to: 254 days, 7 hours, 3 minutes and thirty seconds.
Commander Kelly is also a regular Tweeter. If you are active on Twitter you can follow his experiences aboard ISS at @StationCDRKelly. I checked it out and saw beautiful space sunsets, sunrises and horizon pictures as well as one that went viral because some folks claim it contains a UFO. Wait, what? Yes, that’s what the gringa said. A UFO. Who knows, it could have just been some space junk burning up in the atmosphere. You will have to check it out yourself and decide. And, of course, he is always posting incredible images of home.
Which makes the gringa realize that no matter how exciting it is to go hurtling through outer space and discover incredible and amazing things, every single astronaut and cosmonaut looks forward to coming home.
Source and Photo Credit: www.nasa.gov