Orbital Outpost Prepares for Departure of Ax-3 Astronauts

The 11 crew members representing the Expedition 70 and Axiom Space 3 crews gather for a farewell ceremony calling down to mission controllers on Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The 11 crew members representing the Expedition 70 (red shirts) and Axiom Space 3 (dark blue suits) crews gather for a farewell ceremony calling down to mission controllers on Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 70 and Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crews called down to Mission Control on Friday for a farewell ceremony as the four private astronauts target their departure for Saturday morning. The orbital residents aboard the International Space Station worked just half-a-day packing the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft before going to bed early to get ready for the spacecraft’s undocking.

The Ax-3 private astronauts are in their final day aboard the orbital outpost following two weeks of science and educational activities. The foursome, led by Commander Michael López-Alegría, is currently targeted to undock inside Dragon from the Harmony module’s forward port at 6:05 a.m. EST on Saturday. López-Alegría, along with Pilot Walter Villadei and Mission Specialists Alper Gezeravcı and Marcus Wandt, will then parachute inside Dragon to the splashdown site where support personnel from Axiom Space and SpaceX await their arrival. Mission managers will receive a final weather report before giving the Ax-3 quartet the final go for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Space station Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) helped the Ax-3 crewmates wrap up their mission activities helping reconfigure the orbital lab for standard crew operations. NASA Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara joined in and retrieved station emergency gear from Dragon and stowed science hardware inside the returning spacecraft.

Earlier, O’Hara partnered with astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and transferred research samples from the newly arrived Cygnus cargo craft into science freezers aboard the station. Furukawa later swapped out research hardware that supports botany and biology experiments with a minimum of astronaut intervention inside the Columbus laboratory module.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub packed the Progress 85 resupply ship, docked to the Zvezda service module’s rear port, with trash and discarded items before it ends its cargo mission and undocks later this month. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov spent his shift configuring a variety of experiment hardware. Borisov serviced a camera that observes Earth’s atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths, charged hardware that documents crew interactions with mission controllers from around the world, then deactivated medical gear that continuously monitors a crew member’s blood pressure.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

About the author

文 » A