They departed in the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft which aired live on NASA’s TV channel and website. The hatch closed their spacecraft on Friday night after the crew bid farewell to the others on the station. They undocked from the station’s Poisk port at 9:34 p.m. ET.
The three also navigated re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere and landed at 12:55 a.m. ET Saturday on the Kazakhstan steppe. The cosmonauts will return to their training base in Star City, Russia, and Rubins will fly home to Houston, Texas.
Together, the time of the crew on the station encompassed 2,960 orbits of the earth and 78.4 million miles after their arrival in October.
For Rubin, this became her second flight into outer space which brought her total time in space to 300 days.
It also became Ryzhikov’s second flight which brought his outer space-time to 358 cumulative days. However, this was Kud-Sverchkov’s first spaceflight experience.
The departure of these three also means that 7 crew members remain on the space station. However, they expect the population of the space station to grow to 11 on April 22. NASA’s SpaceX crew-2 members, a JAXA astronaut, and a European Space Agency astronaut are scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on that date.
The crew left on the space station have already prepared for the new crew by setting up extra sleep stations. They also freed up some ports for the arrival of the new spacecraft.
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