Homebound Trio Hands Over Station Command

Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
Photo Credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov handed over control of the International Space Station Monday at 2:25 p.m. EDT in a traditional Change of Command Ceremony. Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin will take over command and officially lead Expedition 37 when Expedition 36 undocks today at 7:35 p.m.

Going home with Vinogradov are Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin, who arrived at the station March 28. They will land a few hours later in their Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft at 10:58 p.m. (8:58 a.m. Wednesday Kazakhstan time). Soyuz landing coverage begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with farewell and hatch closure.

Staying behind with Yurchikhin are Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano. The spacefaring trio has been orbiting Earth since May 28 and is scheduled for a return home in November.

Scheduled to join Expedition 37 on Sept. 25 are Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins, and Sergey Ryazanskiy. After their launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft, they will dock to the Poisk mini-research module after just four orbits, or about six hours later.

Meanwhile, the six-member crew is busy with ongoing science and maintenance. The residents are also completing final undocking preparations and training for the arrival of the Cygnus commercial spacecraft.

Cassidy collected blood and urine samples for stowage inside the Human Research Facility’s science freezer. He also replaced a fluids control and pump assembly inside the Tranquility node’s Water Recycling System.

Meanwhile, Cassidy’s crewmates Vinogradov and Misurkin continued their Soyuz undocking preparations. Vinogradov finalized packing gear inside the spacecraft while Misurkin practiced Soyuz descent operations.

Orbital Sciences is planning to launch its first commercial cargo craft, the Cygnus launching atop an Antares rocket, to the space station Sept. 17. Nyberg and Parmitano are training for its Sept. 22 rendezvous and berthing to the Harmony node. The duo reviewed rendezvous procedures and practiced grappling the Cygnus with onboard training.

This story originally appeared on NASA’s website and can be viewed here: Farewell 36

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