Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins climbed into their Soyuz landing craft and undocked from the International Space Station at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday (0134 GMT Saturday). The trio touched down on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. EDT (0456 GMT) to wrap up six months in orbit.
Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut wrapping up a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station readied their Soyuz ferry ship for a fiery plunge back to Earth early Saturday amid preparations in Florida for launch of another station-bound crew Thursday aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA and SpaceX officials are moving forward with preparations to launch the next commercial Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station next week after a Flight Readiness Review Thursday, pending a final evaluation of a discovery by SpaceX that it has potentially been loading slightly more propellant than expected into its Falcon 9 rockets.
SpaceX rolled out a Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to pad 39A Friday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, setting the stage for a static fire test Saturday and a crew countdown rehearsal Sunday. The four astronauts who will ride the capsule to the International Space Station also arrived at the Florida spaceport Friday to prepare for liftoff.
SpaceX trucked its Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft — refurbished with a new heat shield and structural enhancements — across the Cape Canaveral spaceport this week for attachment to a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of a planned liftoff next Thursday with four astronauts heading to the International Space Station.
Blue Origin, the space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, took another step toward launching people to the edge of space Wednesday with a test flight of its New Shepard booster and crew capsule over West Texas. “It’s time,” Bezos wrote on Instagram after the flight, suggesting Blue Origin plans to move forward with suborbital launches carrying human passengers above the atmosphere.