Expedition 54 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos have undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) in their Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft, ahead of returning to Earth. The trio is expected to land on the steppes of Kazakhstan around 02:32 UTC.
During their 168 days in space, they were part of the first expedition that began a long-term increase in the crew size on the U.S. segment from three people to four, enabling NASA to double the time dedicated to research – surpassing 100 hours of research in one week.
The crew launched in September, riding on the Soyuz FG rocket.
During the crew’s tour, Misurkin was involved in a record-breaking Russian EVA. Also, a major EVA task on the US side also involved the two US astronauts as work over a series of spacewalkers was completed on improving the Station’s robotic assets.
Once final farewells were complete, the hatches between the ISS and the Soyuz were closed, prior to the crew completing the translation from the Orbital Module (BO) and Descent Module (SA) to strap themselves into their Kazbek couches inside the SA.
As per the timeline, Soyuz MS-06 undocked ...