Space to Ground: Holiday Homecoming: 12/21/2018


“HOUSTON, STATION
ON SPACE TO GROUND.” WELCOME TO SPACE TO
GROUND, I’M DAN HUOT. THREE CREWMEMBERS WRAPPED UP
THEIR YEAR BY SAYING FAREWELL TO SPACE AND HELLO
TO PLANET EARTH. NASA’S SERENA ANON-CHANCELLOR AND HER EXPEDITION 57
COHORTS ALEXANDER GERST OF ESA AND SERGEY PROKOPYEV OF
ROSCOSMOS PACKED UP THEIR THINGS AND LEFT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE
STATION AFTER 197 DAYS IN SPACE. BEFORE THEY LEFT, ALEX
HANDED OVER COMMAND TO RUSSIAN COSMONAUT OLEG
KONONENKO FOR EXPEDITION 58. “WHEN WE CLOSE THAT
HATCH TOMORROW, WE WILL BE BOTH HAPPY AND SAD. WE WILL LEAVE THIS PLACE WITH
A LAUGHING AND A CRYING EYE, MOSTLY BECAUSE WE MISS YOU, OUR
FRIENDS UP HERE, BUT ALSO THIS, THIS FANTASTIC MAGICAL PLACE.” THEY LOADED INTO THE SOYUZ
MS-09 SPACECRAFT AND UNDOCKED FOR THE SEVERAL HOUR
JOURNEY HOME. AS IS TYPICAL DURING THE
WINTER MONTHS IN KAZAKHSTAN, FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND SNOW
GREETED THE CREW ON THE GROUND AS TEAMS FROM ALL THREE
SPACE AGENCIES ASSISTED IN RECOVERING THE CREW
AFTER A SUCCESSFUL LANDING. ONE SHORT HELICOPTER RIDE LATER,
THEY LOADED UP ONTO PLANES AND HEADED BACK TO HOME BASE
IN THE U.S, GERMANY AND RUSSIA. AND WHILE THIS WAS THE FIRST
FLIGHT FOR SERENA AND SERGEY, THIS WAS ALEX’S SECOND
LONG-DURATION STINT ON THE STATION AND MADE HIM
THE NEW RECORD HOLDER FOR TIME IN SPACE AMONG EUROPEAN
ASTRONAUTS WITH 362 DAYS TOTAL. PHASE THREE OF AN INNOVATIVE
TECH DEMO TEACHING US HOW TO FUEL UP IN SPACE IS UNDERWAY. GROUND CONTROLLERS USED THE
SPACE STATION’S ROBOTIC ARM TO EXTRACT THE ROBOTIC
REFUELING MISSION-3 AND AFFIXED TO ITS TEST LOCATION
ABOARD STATION THIS WEEK. THE LATEST EVOLUTION OF
THIS PAYLOAD WILL LOOK TO COMPLETE AN IMPORTANT
FIRST: STORING AND TRANSFERRING
CRYOGENIC FLUID IN SPACE. CRYOGENIC FLUIDS ARE
IMPORTANT FUELS AND COOLANTS FOR SPACECRAFT, AND DEVELOPING
THE TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES TO TOP OFF SATELLITES
AND SPACECRAFT WHILE IN OUTER SPACE WILL
BE A CRITICAL SKILL FOR PROLONGING THE LIFETIME OF
VEHICLES AND SUPPORTING CREWS THAT EMBARK ON MISSIONS
FAR BEYOND EARTH. KEEP SENDING IN YOUR QUESTIONS
USING THE HASHTAG SPACETOGROUND, WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

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