Expedition 57

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Began Oct. 4, 2018; will transition to Expedition 58 on Dec. 20, 2018

First Part

Transferring from Expedition 56

Alexander Gerst, ESA
     | Commander
Sergey Prokopyev, Roscosmos
     Flight Engineer
Serena Aunon-Chancellor, NASA
     Flight Engineer

Launched: June 6, 2018, aboard Soyuz MS-09
Expected landing: Dec. 13, 2018

Second Part

Docking Dec. 3, 2018

Oleg Kononenko, Roscosmos
     | Flight Engineer
Anne McClain, NASA
     Flight Engineer
David Saint-Jacques, CSA
     Flight Engineer

Launching: Dec. 3, 2018, aboard Soyuz MS-11
Expected landing: June 21, 2019

Expedition 57 was originally to include Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague. However, during their ascent into orbit Oct. 11, 2018, in their Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft, their carrier rocket experienced a failure. Failing to reach orbit, they landed safely and did not join with Expedition 57.


— Statistics —

Max. crew size: 6 (5 originally planned)
Started: Oct. 4, 2018
Planned end: Dec. 20, 2018
Expected duration: ~78 days
Orbits of Earth expected: ~1,230

Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Spacecraft: Soyuz-MS-09, Soyuz MS-11

Planned experiments: ~60
Spacewalks to date: 0
Total spacewalk time: 0 minutes
Visiting vehicle arrivals: 2
Visiting vehicle departures: 1

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— Mission Summary —

Expedition 57 is tasked with performing dozens of experiments, overseeing the arrival of several cargo resupply vehicles and perform spacewalks to upgrade the International Space Station’s batteries. The initial three-person crew — European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev — was expected to be joined by Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague on Oct. 11, 2018. However, an abort during their ascent in Soyuz MS-10 prevented them from joining the crew. They will instead be joined by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.


— Major Events —

Expedition 57 begins

At 07:57 UTC Oct. 4, 2018, Soyuz MS-08 undocked with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold. They left behind Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and European Space Agency Alexander Gerst to form the first part of Expedition 57.

Feustel, who was commander of Expedition 56, handed over command of the space station to Gerst the day before he left. The remaining trio are expected to be joined by Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague when they launch toward the outpost on Oct. 11.

Soyuz MS-10 launch failure

For the first time in International Space Station history, a crew has failed to reach orbit. The spacecraft's escape system safely pulled Soyuz MS-10 with its two-person crew away from the failed booster.

Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague lifted off atop a Soyuz-FG rocket at 8:40 GMT Oct. 11, 2018, from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Around the time of the separation of the four strap-on boosters — about 2 minutes into the flight — was when the issue occurred.

The crew was unable to use the spacecraft’s abort tower as it had been jettisoned seconds earlier. Instead it appears thrusters on the fairing around the Soyuz spacecraft were used to pull the spacecraft away from the failing rocket. This placed the capsule onto a ballistic trajectory, resulting in high gravity loads on the crew during its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Their g-force was reportedly 6 or 7 times that of Earth’s gravity.

Search and recovery teams reached Ovchinin and Hague immediately after they landed in their capsule, according to NASA. The pair ended up landing about 12 miles (20 kilometers) east of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The next crew scheduled to launch to the ISS was currently scheduled for Dec. 20—Soyuz MS-11. However, until the problem with this launch is found and solved, no Soyuz spacecraft is likely to be launched. How this will effect Expedition 57 and its schedule is currently unknown. This abort comes just six weeks after a hole was discovered in Soyuz MS-09, which is currently attached to the ISS.


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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.