Updates on the Russian Challenge Mission to the Space Station

Credit: Roscosmos

Roscosmos Mission Updates

Challenge Mission Day 8
October 13

October 13, 2021, the International Space Station Russian segment is a major day: preparations for the return to Earth of the ‘Challenge’ scientific educational project crew. Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy continues preparations and training together with spaceflight participants for the upcoming landing of the Soyuz MS-18 Yuri Gagarin spacecraft.

Undocking, autonomous flight and landing of the capsule are always particularly responsible operations. Being in the descent vehicle, the crew must be ready to respond to any emergency, following the recommendations of the Mission Control Center specialists and the spacecraft commander at all stages during the descent to Earth.

Therefore, a few days before the landing the cosmonauts and spaceflight participants thoroughly study the onboard documentation and consult with specialists on Earth responsible for safe landing.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko launched to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on October 5. As part of the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’, Peresild and Shipenko are shooting the first feature film in space about a girl doctor who goes into orbit to save a cosmonaut.

Challenge Mission Day 7
October 12

Today, on October 12, 2021, the Russian crewmembers of the International Space Station had a busy working day. As part of the flight program, Roscosmos cosmonauts continue their work on the ‘Challenge’ scientific and educational project, including a series of experiments on the Russian scientific program.

In particular, the Cardiovector experiment is designed to obtain new information about the role of the right and left heart sections in adapting the circulatory system to the long-duration spaceflight conditions. In turn, the ‘Profilaktika-2’ medical experiment is designed to study the mechanisms of action and effectiveness of different modes of physical activity in long-term spaceflight on the general and physical performance state of the crew in long-term spaceflight.

The same morning in preparation for the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft launch, the International Space Station orbit correction was conducted. All operations were carried out in automatic mode, however the crew simultaneously reported on the correction maneuver progress.

In the afternoon, the Soyuz MS-18 Yuri Gagarin spacecraft crew of Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild continued preparing to return to Earth scheduled for October 17, 2021. Currently, Oleg Novitskiy is stowing returning equipment in the descent vehicle of the spacecraft.

The 65th expedition, consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (station commander), and spaceflight participants of the ‘Challenge’ scientific and educational project Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild, are currently working at the ISS.

Challenge Mission Day 6
October 11

The ‘Challenge’ scientific and educational project participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild, as well as Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov continue their work in Earth orbit, including routine activities and experiments under the project.

In addition, members of the 65th long-term expedition to the International Space Station are doing routine physical training in accordance with the flight plans and the recommendations of doctors who monitor the well-being and health of the crew from the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos).

Despite being in great physical shape, each member of the ISS crew is required, on the recommendation of specialists on Earth, to exercise on machines specially designed for the Russian segment of the station. These machines provide muscle load that the body does not use during a long stay in zero gravity.

Currently, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (expedition commander) and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide also work onboard the International Space Station.