Three International Space Station Expedition 54 crew members returned to Earth this morning following 168 days in space. NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin landed outside a remote town in Kazakhstan at 02:31 GMT (08:31 local time).
Welcome home! @Astro_Sabot, @AstroAcaba and Alexander Misurkin landed back on planet Earth at 9:31pm ET after 168 days in space. Watch as they exit their spacecraft: https://t.co/ZuxLDtzW9c pic.twitter.com/jK6OqbSWUC
— NASA (@NASA) February 28, 2018
The three returning Expedition 54 crew members set several records during their stay at the International Space Station (ISS). Included in their record-setting efforts was a whopping 100 hours of research completed in a single week and the longest spacewalk ever completed by a cosmonaut. The record-breaking spacewalk was undertaken by Alexander Misurkin and fellow cosmonaut Anton Shkapelrov and timed out at 8 hours and 13 minutes.
The crew also welcomed the arrival of four separate cargo spacecraft carrying research equipment and station supplies. The first was a Russian Progress craft launched in October last year. The three others were an Orbital ATK Cygnus that arrived in November 2017, a SpaceX Dragon in December 2017 and an additional Russian Progress in February of this year.
The three crew members who served on both the Expedition 53 and 54 crews launched aboard a Soyuz rocket in September last year. With the return of Vande Hei, Acaba and Misurkin, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle are the only residents of the ISS.
The three additional crew members of Expedition 55 are scheduled to launch on March 21 arriving at the station two days later. The new additions to the ISS crew are Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and NASA’s Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls