Launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Friday carrying three fresh crew members to the International Space Station will boost the lab’s crew back to six and, most important from NASA’s perspective, dramatically boost research with four crew members — three NASA astronauts and a veteran European flier — available to operate experiments in the American segment of the laboratory.
A Dragon supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX departed the International Space Station early Monday and returned to Earth for a predawn splashdown in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles with scientific specimens and other equipment. Astronaut Jack Fischer released the Dragon cargo capsule from the station’s robotic arm at 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), and splashdown occurred around 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT).
NASA has picked 12 engineers, scientists and pilots to begin basic training for future spaceflight assignments from more than 18,300 applicants, adding U.S. military combat veterans, two medical doctors, an MIT professor, an expert on submersibles, a SpaceX launch engineer, a field biologist and a planetary geologist to the agency’s astronaut ranks.
Two crewmen returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Friday, riding a Russian Soyuz spaceship to a parachute-assisted, rocket-cushioned landing in Kazakhstan to close out more than 196 days in orbit. Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet undocked from the station at 1047 GMT (6:47 a.m. EDT) and landed in Kazakhstan at 1410 GMT (10:10 a.m. EDT).