This weekend, the International Space Station welcomed three new astronauts, a Russian, a Japanese and an American, who arrived on board Soyuz MS-01 to bring the ISS crew, now called Expedition 48, to six once again.
The astronauts Anatoly Ivanishin (Roscosmos, Russia), Takuya Onishi (JAXA, Japan) and Kathleen Rubins (NASA, USA) joined the commander Jeff Williams (NASA) and two Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
The Soyuz docked on 9 July as the ISS flew over the South Pacific. The three new crew members are set to remain on the space station until late October, while the three astronauts already on board since March (Williams, Skripochka and Ovchinin), will return to Earth in September.
Over the coming months, the crew will be responsible for, among other things, managing the arrival and unloading of several cargo ships containing several tonnes of food and fuel and various equipment and scientific experiments.
In recent days, while waiting for the first delivery on 18 July, Jeff Williams has set up instruments in the Japanese laboratory module, Kibo that will be needed for an experiment on life which will be brought by SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.
He will then install the Meteor instrument in the American laboratory module, brought in March by a Cygnus cargo ship built by the U.S. company, Orbital Sciences. This device will be used to analyse the chemical composition of meteorites, bodies that burn up in the atmosphere and the analysis of which from Earth is particularly difficult due to the interference created by the atmosphere.