Photo: International Space Station
The three Russian cosmonauts, two American astronauts and one Japanese astronaut aboard the International Space Station, or ISS, are doing their jobs while traveling around the Earth at 27,000 kph (16,777 mph) in spite of the tensions between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine.
The ISS’s Expedition 38 is under the command of Russia’s Oleg Kotov, with Russians Mikhail Tyurin and Sergei Ryazanskiy; Americans Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins; and Japan’s Koichi Wakata rounding out the crew.
Three of the crewmen are preparing to return to Earth from the ISS, which is at an orbit of more than 385 kilometers (239 miles), after spending six months in space.
Kotov, Hopkins and Ryazanskiy will leave the ISS under the command of Wakata, who flew to the station on Nov. 7, NASA said.
The three men will return to Earth in a Russian-made Soyuz capsule, NASA said.
The Soyuz space capsule will leave the ISS on March 10 and land southeast of Jezkazgan, a city in Kazakhstan.
Kotov, Hopkins and Ryazanskiy arrived on the $100 billion ISS, a project developed by 15 countries, on Sept. 25, less than six hours after their rocket lifted off from the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan.
“Waiting to replace the returning astronauts are Expedition 39/40 crew members Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev. The trio is in Star City, Russia, conducting suited dress rehearsals inside a Soyuz simulator. They are scheduled to launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-12 Soyuz spacecraft on March 25 for a six-hour ride to the station’s Poisk mini-research module for a docking,” NASA said.