Record-setting wanderer heads for home

Peggy Whitson, America’s many gifted wanderer with scarcely two years in circuit over 3 missions, earnings to Earth Saturday after an extended 288-day stay aboard the International Space Station, alighting on the steppe of Kazakhstan with Soyuz MS-04 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA moody operative Jack Fischer.

Bidding hire commander Randy Bresnik, Italian wanderer Paolo Nespoli and cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy farewell, Whitson and her two crewmates devise to undock from the Russian Poisk procedure at 5:58 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) Saturday.

After moving a protected stretch away, Yurchikhin and Fischer will guard a designed four-minute 38-second rocket banishment to delayed the qualification by about 286 mph, just adequate to dump the distant side of the circuit low into the atmosphere for a emergence alighting circuitously the city of Dzezkazgan, Kazakhstan, a few seconds bashful of 9:22 p.m. (7:22 a.m. Sunday internal time).

Russian liberation crews and NASA moody surgeons and support organisation will be hire by to help the returning organisation members out of the close Soyuz skirmish module, carrying them to circuitously recliners for initial medical checks and satellite phone calls to family and friends as they start re-adjusting to the unknown yank of gravity.

From the alighting site, all 3 organisation members will be flown by helicopter to Karaganda where Yurchikhin will house a Russian space group craft for the outing home to Star City circuitously Moscow. Because of disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey, NASA’s plans for returning Whitson and Fischer to the Johnson Space Center in Houston were not immediately known.

Yurchikhin and Fischer were launched Apr 20 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will be jacket up a 136-day stay in space. Soyuz booster routinely lift a organisation of three, but the Russians recently motionless to save income by shortening the station’s cosmonaut organisation from 3 to two, leaving an dull chair aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft.

Whitson was launched last Nov. 17 and creatively designed to come home with her Soyuz MS-03 crewmates on Jun 2. But with an dull chair aboard the MS-04 spacecraft, U.S. and Russian space managers concluded to extend Whitson’s goal by 3 months, permitting the U.S. organisation to control additional research.

And so, being in the right place at the right time, Whitson became America’s many gifted astronaut, flitting prior record hilt Jeff Williams’ symbol of 534 days aloft over 5 missions on Apr 24.

With alighting Saturday, Whitson’s sum time aloft over 3 missions will mount at 665 days, moving her up to eighth in the universe with 131 some-more days in space than Williams and 145 days some-more than Scott Kelly, who logged scarcely a year in space on one flight.

Yurchikhin’s sum will mount at 673 days in space over 5 flights, moving him to seventh in the world, just brazen of Whitson.

During their four-and-a-half-month mission, Yurchikhin and Fischer welcomed two SpaceX Dragon load ships, a Russian Progress freighter and a Soyuz carrying 3 fresh organisation members — Ryazanskiy, Bresnik and Nespoli. They also oversaw the depart of 3 visiting vehicles and participated in 3 spacewalks — two for Fischer and one for Yurchikhin.

Whitson helped with the attainment of 4 progressing visiting vehicles and carried out 4 spacewalks, two with Shane Kimbrough, one of her strange Soyuz crewmates, and two with Fischer.

Whitson, who binds a doctorate in biochemistry, served two stints as commander of the space hire and is the world’s many gifted womanlike spacewalker with 60 hours and 21 mins of EVA time over 10 excursions. She now ranks third in the universe in spacewalk time, just behind cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev and NASA wanderer Mike Lopez-Alegria.

NASA designed to hold a news discussion with Whitson on Aug. 30 to plead her moody and return to Earth, but the group closed the Johnson Space Center in the arise of Hurricane Harvey and the lecture was canceled, along with coverage of a rite Friday when hire authority eliminated from Yurchikhin to Bresnik.

By any yardstick, Whitson’s career at NASA is doubtful to be matched until astronauts fly back to the moon or on to Mars.

Her first space moody came in 2002 when she bloody off aboard the shuttle Atlantis for a long-duration army aboard the space station, logging 184 days 22 hours and 14 mins off planet. She served as the station’s first “science officer” and logged her first spacewalk, wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit, before alighting aboard the shuttle Endeavour on Dec. 7, 2002.


The International Space Station’s general organisation (left to right) Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Peggy Whitson, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli.

She took off again as a moody operative aboard the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Oct. 10, 2007. During a 191-day 19-hour seven-minute flight, she served as commander of Expedition 16 and achieved 5 some-more spacewalks before returning to Earth on Apr 19, 2008.

After portion as NASA’s arch wanderer from Oct 2009 to Jul 2012, Whitson was reserved a third hire flight, holding off Nov. 17, 2016, aboard the Soyuz MS-03 booster along with car commander Oleg Novitskiy and French moody operative Thomas Pesquet, a European Space Agency astronaut.

She served a second army as space hire commander during her stream mission.

“The partial that has been the many gratifying on a day to day basis, hour to hour, notation to minute, has been operative on house the space station,” she pronounced when asked because she wanted to fly a third time. “It doesn’t matter if I’m cleaning the filters, we feel like I’m assisting privately pull brazen exploration. So we have that satisfaction. That’s because we wish to go again.”

The space station’s organisation routinely is uniformly separate between the Russians and the U.S. segment, which includes astronauts representing NASA, ESA, Japan and Canada. But the Russian decision to downsize its crews in the circuitously term gave NASA the event to fill those seats with U.S. Operating Segment — USOS — organisation members.

“This is good news,” Whitson pronounced in a NASA matter when her mission extension was announced. “I adore being up here. Living and operative aboard the space hire is where we feel like we make the biggest contribution, so we am constantly trying to fist every dump out of my time here. Having 3 some-more months to fist is just what we would wish for.”

Novitskiy and Pesquet returned to Earth as designed on Jun 2 with one dull seat, leaving Whitson behind aboard the hire with Yurchikhin and Fischer. They had the hire to themselves until Jul 28 when Ryazanskiy, Bresnik and Nespoli arrived. During the interim, interjection to Whitson’s extended mission, U.S. investigate that differently would have been neatly curtailed was means to continue.

As it now stands, the station’s six-member organisation facilities two cosmonauts — Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy — and 4 USOS organisation members: Whitson, Fischer, Bresnik and Nespoli.

Following the Soyuz MS-04 depart Saturday, the Expedition 53 organisation — Bresnik, Nespoli and Ryazanskiy — will have the hire to themselves until Sept. 12 when 3 fresh organisation members are scheduled to arrive: Soyuz MS-06 commander Alexander Misurkin, NASA moody operative Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba.

The reconstituted six-member organisation will once again underline 4 USOS organisation members and two Russian cosmonauts. That staffing will continue with the next organisation revolution moody in midst Dec when one cosmonaut and two USOS organisation members, one from the United States and one from Japan, arrive aboard the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft.

“The big thing is we’re going to have 4 USOS organisation members, and with over 330 probable experiments, of which 85 are new to the space station, there’s a ton of scholarship for us to do,” Bresnik pronounced before his Jul 28 launch.

“And with that additional organisation member, we’re going to have a lot some-more event to not only do the science, we’re also going to have the event to do repairs on the station. So we consider the capability of this outrageous laboratory … will really go up utterly a bit having a fourth organisation member.”

Ryazanskiy, Bresnik and Nespoli devise to return to Earth Dec. 14. Between now and then, the overlapping hire crews will lift out mixed spacewalks, help with the depart of one Soyuz, the attainment of another and unpack 4 load ships: one Russian Progress, two SpaceX Dragons and one Orbital ATK Cygnus.

And via it all, the hire organisation will lift out a full line-up of systematic research.

“I consider the bequest (of the space station) is going to be the general partnership,” Whitson said. “We have built something in low-Earth orbit, roving at 17,500 mph, it was not technically an easy thing to do, but we did it internationally, pieces of hardware from all over the universe were assembled in low-Earth circuit and to me, it’s actually supernatural we didn’t have a lot some-more problems than we did in that whole process.”

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