Astronauts return safely from ISS - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Astronauts return safely from ISS

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin relax after returning to Earth from the International Space Station. (Source: NASA Television) NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin relax after returning to Earth from the International Space Station. (Source: NASA Television)
(WAFF) -

Three members of the Expedition 54 crew from the International Space Station are back on Earth.

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, plus cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, landed safely in Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

NASA gave the following mission information in a press release:

Their time on station marked the beginning of the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment, enabling NASA to double the time dedicated to research and achieve a record-setting week of research that surpassed 100 hours. Highlights from this research include investigations into the manufacturing of fiber optic filaments in microgravity, improving the accuracy of an implantable glucoses biosensor, and measuring the Sun’s energy input to Earth.

The crew also welcomed four cargo spacecraft delivering several tons of supplies and research experiments. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the station in November on the company's eighth commercial resupply mission, followed in December by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on the company’s thirteenth resupply mission. Two Russian ISS Progress cargo craft arrived at the station in October and February.

Vande Hei logged 168 days in space on this, his first, mission. He ventured outside the space station on four spacewalks to perform work that included replacing and lubricating the Latching End Effectors on both ends of the Canadarm2. Acaba completed one spacewalk to lubricate an end effector and install new cameras on the station’s arm and truss. He now has accrued 306 days in space on three flights. Acaba and Vande Hei also participated in dozens of educational events while in space as part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station.

Misurkin conducted one record-setting spacewalk with fellow cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to replace an electronics box for a high-gain communications antenna on the Zvezda service module in February. The spacewalk timed out at 8 hours and 13 minutes, the longest in Russian space program history. Misurkin now has spent 334 days in space on two flights.

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