64th long-term expedition is completing its work aboard the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-17 crewed spacecraft crewmembers Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, as well as NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins are preparing to return to Earth in accordance with the flight schedule. Last night the crew change took place at the ISS.
The crew change process at the station is a formal ceremony of signing documents by two commanders: cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, who headed it since October 2020, and astronaut Shannon Walker, signed the corresponding transfer of authority act. The end of the ceremony is traditionally accompanied by the striking of the ship’s bell.
Currently, Sergey Ryzhikov, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Kathleen Rubins are performing operations to prepare for the upcoming descent. The Soyuz MS-17 crewed vehicle descent module will also deliver the equipment and cases with the scientific research and experiments’ results carried out during the six-month expedition.
The coming night, the Soyuz MS-17 crewed spacecraft crewmembers will say goodbye to their colleagues, move to the spacecraft, close the transfer hatches and prepare for undocking. According to the estimated information of the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos), the hatches between the Poisk Mini Research Module of the Russian segment of the station and the Soyuz ship are to close between 22:10 and 22:30 UTC on April 16, 2021. The undocking is expected at 03:34 UTC, and the landing of the descent vehicle with the crew at 04:56 UTC, 147 km southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan (azimuth 110,0°).
All three operations will be broadcast live on Roscosmos website and social networks, as well as on the First Space TV channel. The third broadcast will be attended by Hero of Russia, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, who returned to Earth six months ago. He will tell in detail how the crew is preparing to return to the planet, how the descent process is going on, what the crew feels at this moment, as well as about his impressions and answer numerous other questions.