CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Christmas has finally arrived for the six space station astronauts.
A privately launched supply ship arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday morning, three days after blasting off from Virginia. The space station crew used a hefty robot arm to capture the Cygnus capsule.
The Cygnus is carrying 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments, including ants for an educational project. Also on board: eagerly awaited Christmas presents for all six spacemen.
Orbital Sciences Corp. was supposed to make the delivery last month, well before Christmas. But the Virginia company had to wait a month. A space station breakdown in mid-December took priority, and NASA bumped the flight to January. Then frigid weather at the launch site forced a delay. Then a strong solar storm interfered.
Missouri and Illinois have a mutual interest in the most recent crew of the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz arrived yesterday at the Space Station with two Russian astronauts and American Mike Hopkins. The Missouri native is also a former captain of the Fighting Illini football team. Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Mo. and grew up in Richland. While attending the University of Illinois to earn a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering he captained the U. of I. football team in 1991. Hopkins, a Colonel in the Air Force, will remain at the space station until mid-March. Officials at the school say he is the sixth alumnus to become an astronaut. A schedule of the sightings of the ISS can be found at: spotthestation.nasa.gov .
MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts touched down on Earth Wednesday after undocking from the International Space Station following 166 days in space.
NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin landed safely in Kazakhstan, where they launched on March 29.
Live NASA footage showed the three men emerging from the capsule and onto the sunny Kazakh steppe, where they were first put into reclining chairs to help them readjust to the earth's gravity.
The Soyuz is the only means for international astronauts to reach the orbiting laboratory since the decommissioning of the U.S. space shuttle fleet in 2011.
MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule carrying a three-man crew returning from a five-month mission to the International Space Station landed safely Tuesday on the steppes of Kazakhstan.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, American Thomas Marshburn, and Russian Roman Romanenko landed as planned southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 8:31 a.m. local time Tuesday (10:31 p.m. EDT Monday night).
Live footage on NASA TV showed the Soyuz TMA-07M capsule slowly descending by parachute onto the sun-drenched steppes under clear skies. Russian search and rescue helicopters hovered over the landing site for a quick recovery effort.
Rescue teams moved quickly to help the crew in their bulky spacesuits exit through the narrow hatch of the capsule. They were then put into reclining chairs to start adjusting to Earth's gravity after 146 days in space.
The three astronauts smiled as they chatted with space agency officials and doctors who were checking their condition. Hadfield, who served as the space station's commander, gave a thumbs-up sign. They then made quick phone calls to family members and friends.
NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said by telephone from the landing site that the three returning astronauts were doing very well.
Hadfield, 53, an engineer and former test pilot from Milton, Ontario, was Canada's first professional astronaut to live aboard the space station and became the first Canadian in charge of a spacecraft. He relinquished command of the space station on Sunday.
"It's just been an extremely fulfilling and amazing experience end to end," Hadfield told Mission Control on Monday. "From this Canadian to all the rest of them, I offer an enormous debt of thanks." He was referring to all those in the Canadian Space Agency who helped make his flight possible.
Hadfield bowed out of orbit by posting a music video on YouTube on Sunday — his own custom version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." It's believed to be the first music video made in space, according to NASA.
"With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here's Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World," Hadfield said via Twitter.
Hadfield sang often in orbit, using a guitar already aboard the complex, and even took part in a live, Canadian coast-to-coast concert in February that included the Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson and a youth choir.
The five-minute video posted Sunday drew a salute from Bowie's official Facebook page: "It's possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created."
A three-man U.S.-Russian crew is staying on the space station and will be joined in two weeks by the next trio of astronauts.
The company was working on a technical difficulty shortly after the capsule separated from its Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, posted on Twitter that the some of the capsule’s thrusters — which it would use to reach the station — weren’t initializing.
Musk wrote that SpaceX would hold off on deploying the capsule’s solar arrays until it could get at least two of the four thruster pods to work. The Dragon is due to dock with the space station on Saturday. It’s carrying 1,268 pounds of supplies for the crew and its experiments, NASA says. The mission is the California company’s second of a planned 12 resupply missions under a contract with NASA.