International Space Station crew complement back to six

 After Soyuz MS-02 docks and the crew entered the space station, the full crew went into the  Zvezda  module to conduct a post-docking conference with close friends and family. Photo Credit: NASA TV

After Soyuz MS-02 docks and the crew entered the space station, the full crew went into the Zvezda module to conduct a post-docking conference with close friends and family. Photo Credit: NASA TV

With the Oct. 21 docking of Soyuz MS-02 to the International Space Station's Poisk module, the crew size for the football field-sized orbiting outpost returned to six, albeit for only about two weeks.

Launched Oct. 19 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, three members of Expedition 49 – Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough – took a 34-orbit route to catch up with the ISS and test new equipment on the upgraded Soyuz-MS variant.

Docking took place at 5:52 a.m. EDT (9:52 GMT). A few hours later, at 8:20 a.m. EDT (12:20 GMT), hatches between Soyuz and ISS were opened. The Soyuz trio joined Expedition 49 commander Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi who have been living on board the outpost since July.

On Oct. 30, Ivanishin, Rubins and Onishi will board their Soyuz MS-01 to return to Earth, once again reducing the crew size to three. Once they leave, Expedition 49 will officially end and Expedition 50 will start.

The Soyuz MS-02 crew will be on their own at the outpost for about two-and-a-half weeks before three crew members of Expedition 50 launch in Soyuz MS-03 toward ISS.

Video courtesy of NASA

Comment

Derek Richardson

I am a space geek who loves to write about space.

My passion for space ignited when I watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, I soon realized that my true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

Currently, I am a senior at Washburn University studying Mass Media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism. In addition to running Orbital Velocity, I write for the Washburn Review and am the Managing Editor for SpaceFlight Insider.