Began Dec. 14, 2017; transitioned to Expedition 56 on Feb. 27, 2018
Transferred from Expedition 53
Alexander Misurkin, Roscosmos
Mark Vande Hei, NASA
| Flight Engineer
Joe Acaba, NASA
| Flight Engineer
Launched: Sept. 12, 2017, aboard Soyuz MS-06
Landed: Feb. 28, 2018
Docked Dec. 19, 2017
Anton Shkaplerov, Roscosmos
| Flight Engineer
Scott Tingle, NASA
| Flight Engineer
Norishige Kanai, JAXA
| Flight Engineer
Launched: Dec. 17, 2017, aboard Soyuz MS-07
Landed: June 3, 2018
— Statistics —
Max. crew size: 6
Started: Dec. 14, 2017
Ended: Feb. 27, 2018
Duration: 76 days
Orbits of Earth: ~1,200
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Spacecraft: Soyuz-MS-06, Soyuz MS-07
Experiments conducted: ~90
Total spacewalk time: 21 hours, 34 minutes
Visiting vehicle arrivals: 2
Visiting vehicle departures: 1
— Mission Summary —
Expedition 54 consisted of Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov; NASA astronauts Mark VAnde Hei, Joe Acaba and Scott Tingle; and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai. Over 2.5 months, the increment worked on science experiments that studied bacteria, the manufacture of fiber optics in microgravity, and gathered data about space debris in low-Earth orbit, to name a few. The crew also supported three spacewalks and oversaw the arrival and departure of a couple cargo spacecraft.
— Major Events —
Soyuz MS-05 departs, Expedition 54 begins
CRS-13 Dragon arrival
Soyuz MS-07 arrival
Progress MS-06 departure
CRS-13 Dragon departure
US EVA-47, installation problem
Progress MS-08 arrival
Soyuz MS-06 departs, Expedition 54 ends
— News —
Three members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 54 crew returned to Earth on Feb. 27, 2018. Riding in their Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft, the trio blazed through the atmosphere and landed on the snow-covered Kazakh Steppe in Kazakhstan.
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of NASA returned after spending 168 days in space aboard the ISS as part of Expedition 53 and 54.
Two astronauts—one American, the other Japanese—suited up to venture outside the International Space Station to finish work upgrading the outpost’s robotic Canadarm2, a process that has now involved five extravehicular activities over some four months.
The six-hour U.S. EVA-48 began when NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai put on their suits and exited the Quest airlock.
After spending two days catching up with the International Space Station, the Progress MS-08 Russian cargo freighter docked with the orbiting outpost, bringing several metric tons of supplies for Expedition 54 and future crews.
The autonomous docking of the 7.2-meter long spacecraft took place at 5:38 a.m. EST (10:38 GMT) Feb. 15, 2018, at the aft-end of the Zvezda service module while the duo were flying 406 kilometers above Earth just East of the Philippines, according to NASA.
After a two-day launch delay, Progress MS-08, an autonomous Russian cargo spacecraft, is on its way to the International Space Station.
Liftoff took place atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket occurred at 3:13 a.m. EST (08:13 GMT) Feb. 13, 2018, from launch pad 31 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft is carrying some 1,390 kilograms of dry cargo, 890 kilograms fuel, and 420 kilograms of water, as well as 46 kilograms of oxygen to the outpost.
It was deja vu for the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos. Less than a minute before its planned launch to the International Space Station, the Progress MS-08 cargo mission was scrubbed. The issue appeared similar in nature to one that occurred in October 2017.
Launch atop a Soyuz 2.1a booster was to have taken place at 3:58 a.m. EST (08:58 GMT) Feb. 11, 2018, from launch pad 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
In the second planned spacewalk of 2018, two Russian cosmonauts went outside the International Space Station to upgrade an electronics box on the Lira high-gain antenna at the aft end of the outpost.
The goal for Russian EVA-44 was to install an upgraded electronics box—a high-frequency receiver unit—on the Lira antenna located at the aft-end of the 17-year-old Zvezda service module. It was never designed for on-orbit servicing.
NASA has postponed its planned Jan. 29, 2018, spacewalk to swap a latching end effector on the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 after robotics specialists devised a software patch to fix a communications anomaly with the recently-installed mechanism.
While an exact date has not been set, the agency said it is targeting mid-February for the rescheduled outing.
Just days after installing a new grapple fixture on the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2, NASA is working on a plan to re-install the old latching end effector on an upcoming spacewalk after a problem was found with the new mechanism.
U.S. EVA-28 was already planned for Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, less than a week after the previous spacewalk installed the new LEE.
The first spacewalk of 2018, U.S. EVA-47, is now in the history books after two NASA astronauts completed a nearly 7.5 hour extravehicular activity to replace an aging latching end effector on the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2.
Canadarm2 has a latching end effector, also called a LEE, on either side of the 17-meter robotic arm to either grab onto the exterior of the station, move objects around the outpost, or grab visiting spacecraft.
The first visiting vehicle activity at the International Space Station in 2018 concluded Jan. 13 with the unberthing, departure and splashdown of SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon cargo ship after spending nearly a month at the orbiting outpost.
This was the second time the Hawthorne, California-based company utilized a refurbished Dragon capsule. The pressure vessel first flew as part of the CRS-6 mission in April 2015.
Closing out visiting vehicle comings-and-goings for 2017, the unpiloted Russian Progress MS-06 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station in preparation for an eventual deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.
Progress MS-06 pulled into port on June 16, 2017, at the aft end of the Zvezda service module on the Russian Orbital Segment of the space station. Over the last six months, the freighter’s 2,700 kilograms of equipment, food, water, and fuel was emptied and replaced with trash and unneeded equipment that will burn up in the atmosphere with the rest of the one-time use spacecraft.
The population of the International Space Station returned to six people when Soyuz MS-07 with three fresh crew members autonomously docked with the outpost’s Rassvet module. Contact between the two vehicles occurred at 3:39 a.m. EST (08:39 GMT) Dec. 19, 2017.
Just over two hours later, at 5:55 a.m. EST (10:55 GMT), the hatches between the two spacecraft were opened and the Soyuz’s three-man crew entered to join Expedition 54.
Just hours after Soyuz MS-07 and its three-person crew launched on a two-day trek toward the International Space Station, SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon, having launched days earlier atop a Falcon 9 rocket, rendezvoused with and was attached to the orbiting laboratory.
Carrying more than 2,200 kilograms of cargo, the capsule was installed to the Harmony module of the ISS at 8:26 a.m. EST (13:26 GMT) Dec. 17, 2017.
ust three days after one trio left the International Space Station, another launched toward it. A Soyuz-FG rocket lofted the Soyuz MS-07 mission spacecraft into orbit where it and its crew will spend some two days catching up with the outpost.
Liftoff took place at 1:21 p.m. local Kazakh time (2:21 a.m. EST / 07:21 GMT) Dec. 17, 2017, from Pad 1/5 at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, better known as BEAM, has been given the green light to stay attached to the aft portion of the International Space Station’s Tranquility node for a further three years. The new contract began in November 2017, according to NASA.
Earlier this year, Roscosmos announced it would be reducing its crew on each International Space Station expedition from three to two. This means only five people will participate in each expedition as opposed to the normal six. As such, NASA has updated the 2017 crew assignments for the outpost.