HomeNASACrew-5 Splashes Down, Wraps Up 5-Month ISS Mission

Crew-5 Splashes Down, Wraps Up 5-Month ISS Mission

Dragon Endurance safely splashes down off the Florida Coast, close to Tampa, at 9:02 p.m. EST Saturday. Picture Credit score: NASA

After 5 months aboard the Worldwide House Station (ISS), Crew-5 safely returned to Earth on Saturday, wrapping up over 157 days in area, some 2,512 Earth orbits, 66.5 million miles (107 million kilometers) traveled, a whole bunch of analysis investigations and 5 periods of Extravehicular Exercise (EVA), totaling greater than 35 hours. Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada of NASA, along with Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, splashed down off the Florida Coast at 9:02 p.m. EST Saturday, their good ship Dragon Endurance staking a well-earned declare within the file books as SpaceX’s most-flown Crew Dragon to this point.

Video Credit score: SpaceX

With two long-duration ISS expeditions to her credit score, Endurance—which additionally supported the 176-day Crew-3 increment to the station between November 2021 and Could of final yr—has now logged greater than 330 days in area. In doing so, she eclipses her sister Endeavour, at the moment on-orbit and having fun with the opening days of her fourth flight.

However by the point Endeavour returns to Earth in late August, she is going to snatch again this file. And that can possible see Endeavour change into the primary Crew Dragon to log greater than a cumulative yr in orbit.

The Crew-5 quartet, pictured throughout their remaining days aboard the Worldwide House Station (ISS). From left to proper are Anna Kikina, Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata. Picture Credit score: NASA

Crew-5’s story started in October 2021, when Mann and Cassada—the final two unflown members of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class—had been reassigned to command and pilot the mission. Each had beforehand educated to fly Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.

However with Starliner having endured a troubled maiden voyage in December 2019, adopted by extra delays which pushed its second uncrewed take a look at flight deep into the late spring of 2022 and its first crewed mission even additional to the suitable, NASA opted to reassign the pair to Crew-5. The acknowledged rationale was to offer them an earlier alternative to realize spaceflight expertise.

Crew-5 members (from left) Anna Kikina, Koichi Wakata, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada take part in an emergency drill on the Johnson House Middle (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Picture Credit score: NASA

Wakata, by full distinction, was a seasoned veteran, having flown three House Shuttle missions between January 1996 and July 2009 and as soon as aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Throughout this time, he logged a pair of long-duration stays on the ISS and greater than 347 cumulative days in orbit.

And for 2 months in early 2014, Wakata served as the primary Japanese commander of the station, previous to his task to hitch Crew-5 within the fall of 2021. However Crew-5’s fourth place remained unfilled till final summer time, when a long-awaited built-in crew settlement between NASA and Roscosmos was lastly signed.

Crew-5 launched from Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy House Middle (KSC) final 5 October. Picture Credit score: Jeff Seibert/AmericaSpace

Below its language, the settlement is designed to make sure that at the least one U.S. astronaut flies on every Russian Soyuz and at the least one Russian cosmonaut flies on every Industrial Crew automobile. It will preserve an unbroken presence of U.S. Operational Section (USOS) and Russian Orbital Section (ROS) crew within the occasion of launch delays or the untimely return to Earth of a number of of the companions’ automobiles.

Assigned to the fourth seat aboard Dragon Endurance was Anna Kikina, the primary Russian cosmonaut to launch aboard a U.S. spacecraft since November 2002 and solely the sixth of her countrywomen ever to journey into area. Crew-5 was focused to fly early final September, however met with greater than a month of delay.

Anna Kikina works on upkeep duties throughout her five-month increment. Picture Credit score: NASA

This occurred partially as a result of minor injury incurred by her Falcon 9 booster’s first stage, which hit a highway bridge throughout its transit from the SpaceX manufacturing facility in Hawthorne, Calif., to the Rocket Growth Facility in McGregor, Texas. Moreover, to create “schedule deconfliction” and higher spacing following the return of an earlier crewand in response to the ravages of Hurricane Ian late final September—launch slipped into the early a part of the next month.

Aboard Dragon Endurance, Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina launched from historic Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy House Middle (KSC) at 12:00:57 p.m. EDT on 5 October. Their brand-new Falcon 9 booster pushed them easily uphill and into low-Earth orbit.

Excessive above a cloud-dappled Earth, Dragon Endurance approaches the Worldwide House Station (ISS) for docking on 6 October 2022. Picture Credit score: NASA

Following a 29-hour rendezvous profile, Dragon Endurance docked autonomously on the ahead port of the area station’s Concord node at 5:01 p.m. EDT on 6 October. On the instantaneous of bodily docking, the 2 spacecraft had been flying 258 miles (415 kilometers) over the west coast of Africa.

Hatches into the sprawling orbital advanced had been opened at 6:49 p.m. EDT. The newcomers had been welcomed by Expedition 68 Commander Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy, her U.S. crewmates Kjell Lindgren, Bob “Farmer” Hines, Jessica Watkins and Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

Expedition 68’s U.S. Operational Section (USOS) crew, pictured in festive temper on Christmas Eve. Picture Credit score: NASA

Throughout the televised welcoming ceremony, Mann and Cassada had been delighted when Cristoforetti gifted them a few black-and-white billiard balls. The reward thus acknowledged the final two members of NASA’s 2013 astronaut consumption (whose class nickname is “8-Balls”) to achieve area.

The mixed 11-strong crew labored collectively for slightly greater than per week, earlier than Cristoforetti formally relinquished command of the ISS to Prokopyev on 12 October. Two days later, after a number of weather-related wave-offs, Lindgren, Hines, Watkins and Cristoforetti boarded their Dragon Freedom ship, undocked from the station and returned to Earth, splashing down off the Florida Coast to conclude 170 days in area.

Sergei Prokopyev (higher) and Dmitri Petelin work with their Russian Orlan area fits in early December. Their second EVA on the 14th was canceled, following an noticed coolant leak from Soyuz MS-22. Picture Credit score: NASA

With Expedition 68 returned to nominal seven-person operations, below Prokopyev’s command, a number of busy months in assist of round 250 scientific investigations lay forward. Analysis focuses ranged from modeling how the human mind adapts to microgravity to rising dwarf tomato vegetation.

Elsewhere, the astronauts and cosmonauts undertook listening to assessments and ultrasound eye scans to 3D-printing of organ-like tissues and from understanding central nervous system habits via evaluation of microscopic worms to novel ideas for bone-healing applied sciences. Different experiments included trials of an ultra-high-definition video digital camera, research of atmospheric “airglow” at near-ultraviolet wavelengths, methodologies to pilot future area automobiles and efforts to grasp the physics of fluid uncovered to magnetic and electrical fields.

His worksite illuminated by the glow of his helmet lights, Frank Rubio maneuvers an ISS Roll-Out Photo voltaic Array (iROSA) into place for set up. Picture Credit score: NASA

A cluster of Extravehicular Exercise (EVA)—each from the U.S. Operational Section (USOS) and the Russian Operational Section (ROS)—had been additionally deliberate. 5 spacewalks had been executed by Cassada, Rubio, Wakata and Mann and one by Prokopyev and Petelin.

The ramp-up of U.S. EVAs started in October, when NASA declared itself able to resume nominal spacewalk operations. This adopted “a skinny layer of moisture” discovered contained in the helmet of German spacewalker Matthias Maurer in March 2022.

The Solar peeks over the Earth’s horizon on this lovely dawn shot over the Pacific Ocean, captured by a Crew-5 astronaut. Picture Credit score: NASA

The trigger was finally attributed to built-in system efficiency and a variety of variables, together with crew exertion and cooling settings, which prompted the updating of a number of operational procedures and mitigation methods. From late October, the USOS crew started configuring the Quest airlock and their fits for an anticipated trio of EVAs within the November-December timeframe to outfit the station with and a 3rd and fourth set of Boeing-built ISS Roll-Out Photo voltaic Arrays (iROSAs).

On 15 November, Cassada and Rubio spent seven hours and 11 minutes exterior the ISS, becoming a modification package onto the starboard-side S-6 truss phase to organize for the set up of a brand new array to enhance Energy Channel 1B. The package had arrived per week earlier aboard Northrop Grumman Corp.’s NG-18 Cygnus cargo ship.

The Expedition 68 crew poses for a bunch portrait within the station’s Concord node. From left to proper are Anna Kikina, Frank Rubio, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, Nicole Mann, Dmitri Petelin and Sergei Prokopyev. Picture Credit score: NASA

Within the meantime, in late November SpaceX’s CRS-26 Cargo Dragon arrived on the area station, carrying amongst its 7,700-pound (3,500-kilogram) haul of payloads, provides and tools the third and fourth iROSA arrays. These had been robotically extracted from the cargo ship’s unpressurized “trunk” by the use of the 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm on the twenty ninth and briefly emplaced onto the station’s expansive truss to await one other pair of U.S. EVAs to put in them.

On 3 December, Cassada and Rubio had been exterior for his or her second spacewalk, which ran to seven hours and 5 minutes and noticed them efficiently set up one of many arrays to enhance Energy Channel 3A on the starboard-side S-4 truss. The astronauts additionally disconnected a cable to permit Energy Channel 1B to be reactivated following an earlier electrical journey.

Lovely orbital dawn over the Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand. Picture Credit score: NASA

Elsewhere, on 17 November Prokopyev and Petelin spent six hours and 25 minutes exterior the station, persevering with a multi-EVA marketing campaign to outfit Russia’s latest pressurized analysis module, the Nauka science lab. The duo readied a radiator on the Rassvet module for switch over to Nauka.

It was then anticipated that three additional ROS spacewalks would happen between late November and late December. These had been tasked with shifting and deploying the radiator, establishing electrical and hydraulic connections and transferring Rassvet’s airlock module to its eventual location aboard Nauka.

Lovely view of Dragon Endurance, backdropped by the Moon. Picture Credit score: NASA

However the best-laid plans, as Robert Burns as soon as wrote, and which John Steinbeck later immortalized in Of Mice and Males, usually go awry. The cosmonauts’ second EVA on 25 November was canceled as a result of a difficulty with a water coolant pump in Prokopyev’s swimsuit and rescheduled for 14 December.

All that got here to nought at 7:45 p.m. EST, simply as the 2 males had been about to enterprise exterior, when floor personnel noticed “vital” leakage from the aft phase of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. Prokopyev and Petelin’s spacewalk was scrubbed as engineers recognized a coolant loop leak within the spacecraft’s exterior radiator.

Spectacular view of mid-January’s launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, as seen from the Worldwide House Station (ISS). Picture Credit score: NASA

Temperatures and humidity ranges inside Soyuz MS-22 remained inside acceptable limits and Canadarm2 inspections on 18 December revealed a small gap and discoloration on the radiator’s floor, suggestive of a Micrometeoroid Orbital Particles (MMOD) influence. Russian engineers additionally executed a passable take a look at of the spacecraft’s thrusters.

But it surely was readily obvious because the New 12 months started that Soyuz MS-22 was now not viable for the “nominal” return of Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, initially scheduled for late March. In mid-January, NASA and Roscosmos decided {that a} “substitute” ship, Soyuz MS-23, would launch uncrewed in late February and the ISS stay-time of Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio can be correspondingly prolonged to so long as a full yr.

Dragon Endurance is pictured docked to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) throughout her Crew-5 increment. Picture Credit score: NASA

To facilitate an enhanced “lifeboat” functionality, Rubio’s seat liner was transferred as a precautionary measure from Soyuz MS-22 over to Dragon Endurance on 17-18 January. It was deliberate that it will be put in—together with Prokopyev and Petelin’s seat liners—aboard Soyuz MS-23 following its arrival.

The substitute crew automobile launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on 23 February and docked autonomously on the ISS two days later. Along with its three empty crew locations, Soyuz MS-23 carried 946 kilos (429 kilograms) of payloads and provides for Expedition 68.

Frank Rubio is pictured through the first of his three EVAs on 15 November 2022. Picture Credit score: NASA

By this time, three extra U.S. EVAs had continued the iROSA work. On 21 December, Rubio and Cassada had been minutes away from heading out of the Quest airlock, when their third EVA was postponed by a Pre-Decided Particles Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) to create a protected separation distance from a fraction of a Russian Fregat-SB rocket higher stage.

This was the second PDAM to have impacted Expedition 68. Final 24 October, one other maneuver was executed to keep away from a fraction of Russia’s Cosmos 1408 satellite tv for pc.

Koichi Wakata, pictured throughout his second Extravehicular Exercise (EVA) with Nicole Mann on 2 February. Crew-5’s trusty ship, Dragon Endurance, is seen at far proper. Picture Credit score: SpaceX

Delayed by 24 hours, Rubio and Cassada had been again exterior on 22 December. They spent seven hours and eight minutes putting in the iROSA array for Energy Channel 4A onto the station’s port-side P-4 truss.

With this work full, 4 of a complete of six iROSA arrays have now been fitted. The ultimate pair are set to reach aboard SpaceX’s CRS-28 Cargo Dragon in June 2023 for set up later this summer time.

Josh Cassada (in checked shirt) and Frank Rubio (in darkish shirt) assist Koichi Wakata (left) and Nicole Mann (proper) with their fits, previous to their 2 February EVA. Picture Credit score: NASA

In readiness for these remaining iROSA units, on 20 January and a couple of February the ultimate U.S. EVAs of Expedition 68 had been accomplished, each executed with aplomb and finesse by Wakata and Mann. The primary spacewalk, lasting seven hours and 21 minutes, noticed them set up a modification package for Energy Channel 1B on the station’s S-6 truss.

And the second spacewalk, which ran to 6 hours and 41 minutes, noticed them add an similar package for Energy Channel 1A on the S-4 truss. Throughout their second EVA, Mann and Wakata additionally labored to relocate an Articulating Transportable Foot Restraint (APFR) from the station’s P-6 truss.

Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, pictured within the cupola throughout NG-18 rendezvous and seize operations in November. The cargo ship, with just one deployed photo voltaic array, is seen between them. Picture Credit score: NASA

Other than science and spacewalks, Expedition 68 has welcomed or bidden farewell to a flotilla of 5 uncrewed cargo automobiles, starting with Progress MS-19 which departed final October. A couple of days after its undocking, Progress MS-21 arrived for a four-month keep, adopted by Progress MS-22 within the second week of February.

Added to the listing have been SpaceX’s CRS-26 Cargo Dragon, which launched in late November and departed in early January. And Northrop Grumman’s NG-18 Cygnus, named in honor of America’s first feminine astronaut, Sally Trip, has been aboard since November.

Progress MS-21 departs into the inky blackness on 17 February, days after experiencing a coolant leak. The cargo ship was deorbited over the Pacific Ocean on the 18th. Picture Credit score: NASA

Regardless of delivering and eradicating a considerable amount of cargo, not all of these resupply missions ran easily. Shortly after arriving in orbit, solely one in all Cygnus’ two fan-shaped photo voltaic arrays unfurled, though groups elected to not try and deploy the opposite as enough energy remained obtainable to execute a passable arrival on the ISS.

And simply final month, Russia’s Progress MS-21 exhibited a worrisome problem with its personal coolant loop. The cargo ship was solely per week away from departure and when it lastly undocked on 17 February, Prokopyev and Petelin made visible inspections of the leak because it drifted away into the inky blackness. Progress MS-21 was deorbited over the Pacific Ocean the next day.

The non permanent 11-member Expedition 68 crew, pictured shortly earlier than the departure of Crew-5. Entrance row, left to proper, are Andrei Fedyayev, Sultan Al-Neyadi and Warren “Woody” Hoburg. Center row, left to proper, are Anna Kikina, Koichi Wakata, Nicole Mann, Dmitri Petelin and Frank Rubio. And again row, left to proper, are Steve Bowen, Sergei Prokopyev and Josh Cassada. Picture Credit score: NASA

By this level, Crew-5’s time aboard the ISS was getting into its homestretch, with Crew-6—composed of NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, along with Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyayev and Sultan Al-Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—launching on their second try on 2 March. Following their arrival on the area station aboard Dragon Endeavour within the wee hours of three March, the Expedition 68 crew was briefly boosted to 11 members from 4 nations.

Hopes of bringing Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina house early Thursday, 9 March proved fruitless, as a result of anticipated excessive winds on the focused splashdown websites off the Florida Coast. Dragon Endurance’s undocking was initially rescheduled for no earlier than Thursday night, earlier than NASA and SpaceX finally aimed for a departure early Saturday morning and splashdown at 9:02 p.m. EST the next evening.

Video Credit score: NASA

Hatches between the station and the Crew Dragon closed for the ultimate time at 12:29 a.m. EST Saturday and the 2 ships parted firm at 2:20 a.m. EST. Dragon Endurance accomplished 4 separation “burns” because it drifted away from the ISS, heading for a splashdown off the Florida Coast, close to Tampa.

Saturday evening’s profitable splashdown wraps up the Crew-5 mission after 157 days, ten hours and a single minute, 66.5 million miles (107 million kilometers) traveled and a couple of,512 Earth orbits accomplished. Winds on the splashdown location had been calm, averaging 4 mph (6.4 km/h), with waves round 1-2 ft (30-60 centimeters).

Koichi Wakata, pictured together with his SpaceX launch and entry swimsuit, turns into the primary non-Russian and non-American to log a cumulative 500 days in area. Picture Credit score: NASA

For her half, Dragon Endurance has now spent a cumulative 333 days, 12 hours and 40 minutes in flight, throughout her two missions. She now heads into post-flight servicing and preparation for her subsequent area voyage, Crew-7, focused for later this summer time.

That mission will see U.S. astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen, Satoshi Furukawa of Japan and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov head to the ISS for the six-month Expedition 69/70 increment. Throughout that increment, Mogensen will change into the primary Dane to command a station crew.

Nicole Mann friends via one of many cupola home windows throughout Expedition 68. Picture Credit score: NASA

With Crew-5 full, Koichi Wakata—who wraps up his third long-duration ISS keep—has secured a spot as Japan’s most skilled astronaut. He turns into the primary non-Russian and non-American to log greater than a cumulative 500 days in orbit.

And Nicole Mann, who turned the primary Native American feminine spacefarer, has secured private data as the primary lady in historical past to command a crew on her very first spaceflight. She can be the primary feminine to steer a Industrial Crew automobile.  

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