US Astronaut Scott Kelly, and Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kornienko, RN3BF, will end their year-long mission in space on March 1, and ham-astronauts will be swapping places. Accompanying them on their return to Earth will be Cosmonaut Alexsander Volkov, U4MIR. Kelly and Kornienko are the International Space Station’s first 1-year crew. Most duty tours are 6 months; Kelly has said he could do another year — perhaps literally standing on his head.
Replacing the returnees onboard the ISS on March 18 will be the Expedition 47/48 crew increment of Astronaut Jeff Williams, KD8TVQ, and Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka, RN3FU, and Alexey Ovchinin. Williams will be the commander of Expedition 48.
“During their 6-month mission, the expedition crew members will facilitate approximately 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth,” NASA has said. “Science conducted also will enable future long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space and on the agency’s journey to Mars.”
Williams, Skripochka, and Ovchinin will join Expedition 47 Commander and Astronaut Tim Kopra, KE5UDN, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake, KG5BVI, and Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP.
This mission will mark Williams’ fourth spaceflight and his third long-duration stay on the orbiting laboratory — a first for an American — and will be his first return to the station since its completion in 2011. By the completion of his 172-day mission, Williams will become the American with the most cumulative days in space — 534 overall, surpassing Expedition 46 commander and space veteran Kelly, who will have logged some 520 days in space when he returns to Earth.