Updated: Mar 30, 2022
A NASA astronaut and two Roscosmos cosmonauts are scheduled to end their mission aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth on Wednesday, March 30.
March 28, 2022: NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts; Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov are scheduled to conclude their Long Expeditions aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth on Wednesday, March 30.
Three Return crew members of Expedition-66 will close the hatch to the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft to begin the journey back to Earth. The Soyuz will undock from the Rassvet module, heading for a parachute-assisted landing Wednesday, March 30, on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.
Prior to the departure of MS-19, Shkaplerov will hand over command of the station to NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn during a change of command ceremony at 9:45 a.m EDT [13:45 UTC] Tuesday, March 29.
Expedition-65/66 comes under very busy schedule of Space Station, hosted three SpaceX Crew Dragon missions, Crew-1, Crew-2, and Crew-3 as well as four Soyuz flights, Soyuz MS-18, Soyuz MS-19, Soyuz MS-20 (space tourism) and Soyuz MS-21
Expedition-65 began since the departure of MS-17, The Soyuz MS-18 arrived to Station on 10 April 2021. Aboard with Commander Oleg Novitskiy, Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. Two weeks later, SpaceX's Crew-2 with 4 NASA astronauts; Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and JAXA's Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, arrived on 24 April 2021.
Prior to the departure of Crew-1, The Station Command was handed over to JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide for the Expedition-65 mission.
On 5 October 2021, Soyuz MS-19 launched, carrying Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, Spaceflight Participants; film director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild. The participants spent 12 days onboard the station as part of a movie project "vyzov" and their return exchanged to Soyuz MS-18, commanded by Oleg Novitskiy.
Pyotr Dubrov and Mark Vande Hei has got an extended mission, and officially transferred to Expedition-66.
The Expedition-66 mission began after the departure of Soyuz MS-18 on 17 October 2021.
It was commanded by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, until 8 November 2021, when Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who arrived aboard Soyuz MS-19, took over his command for the rest of the Mission.
Followed by Crew-2 departure, replaced by SpaceX Crew-3, launched 10 November 2021 on Dragon Endurance, carried NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, and Kayla Barron and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer joined the Soyuz MS-19 crew.
At the end of Expedition 66, scheduled for 30 March 2022, they are due to remain on the ISS as part of Expedition 67 while Dubrov and Vande Hei should return to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-19 as they complete a Record-setting stay of 355 days in space.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 67 will formally begin aboard the station, with new station Commander Marshburn, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, and the recently arrived Soyuz MS-21 crew to the Station on 18 March 2022, with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov.
The latter missions; SpaceX Crew-4 is scheduled to be launched and arriving in April 2022.
Cargo/Science Return on Soyuz MS-19
As part of the Magnetic Fabrication experiment, Roscosmos cosmonauts are growing crystals of coronavirus proteins using a magnetic 3D bioprinter on the Russian segment of the ISS.
The experiment explores the possibility of controlled formation and fabrication of 3D structures in microgravity from organic and inorganic materials.
At the first stage of the Magnetic Fabrication experiment, N (nucleocapsid) and RBD (receptor-binding domain) proteins of various coronavirus strains are studied. Cuvettes with material for crystallization were delivered to the station on March 18, by Soyuz MS-21. They have several degrees of protection, and the proteins of the virus themselves do not pose a danger to humans.
Space-grown crystals of coronavirus proteins of a unique size and purity are planned to be returned to Earth on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft on March 30 in order to study them using various crystallography methods. This will allow you to determine the protein structure of different strains and select drugs!