The NASA astronaut welcomed three new crew members to the International Space Station on the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. Astronauts Andrew Morgan from NASA, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency arrived at the ISS on Sunday, July 21. The three men flew to the space station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, rendezvousing with the ISS 250 miles (402km) above Earth. In Mrs Koch’s photos, the astronauts in their space capsule are nothing more than a small white blimp against the deep blue waters of our home planet.
Ms Koch tweeted over the weekend: “View of our crewmates arriving to @Space_Station yesterday.
“What a tremendously special day to launch. Welcome home @AstroDrewMorgan, @astro_luca and Alexander!”
The newly arrived astronauts will reinforce the space station over the coming six months under the banner of ISS Expedition 60.
At any one time, the ISS is equipped to house a full crew of six astronauts who spend their days performing groundbreaking experiments.
NASA news: Astronaut Christina Koch snapped this photo of a Russian Soyuz capsule
NASA news: NASA relies on the Russian Soyuz to reach the Space Station
On Sunday, the astronauts docked and entered the ISS at 1.04am BST (9.04om EDT).
NASA said: “The arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six.
“The Expedition 60 crew will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
“Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.”
Mrs Koch herself was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2013 and is working on the ISS as part of the Expedition 59, 60 and upcoming Expedition 61 crews.
View of our crewmates arriving to @Space_Station yesterday
By the time she returns to Earth after completing her mission, she will break the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman – 328 days in space.
The astronaut is joined in space by fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin.
On Saturday, July 20, Mr Hague also snapped a photo of the approaching Soyuz spacecraft.
NASA news: Three new astronauts joined the ISS on the weekend
NASA news: The space station orbits the planet from 250 miles above the surface
He tweeted from space: “Chasing @Space_Station… Today’s launch, exactly 50 years after the Apollo Moon landing, marks space exploration as a transcending time, crossing borders, and containing to inspire gains leaps. Sanding by for docking to station… #Apollo50th”
The International Space Station is a joint international effort with more than 230 astronauts representing 18 countries visiting over the years.
The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000 – two years after its components first launched into space.
NASA said: “Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will facilitate on the orbiting laboratory in the unique microgravity environment include the growth of moss aboard the station, a platform to attempt successful printing of biological tissues and bio-mining in space.”
Quick facts about the International Space Station:
1. In a single day, the ISS covers a distance equals to the distance from Earth to the Moon.
2. As the ISS flies over the planet, it covers more than 90 percent of the world’s population.
3. A spacecraft launched from Earth can arrive at the ISS in just six hours.
4. There are approximately 350,000 sensors on the ISS monitoring the astronauts’ health.
5. The orbits the Earth 16 times every single day.
6. The space station’s wingspan is so wide you can sometimes see the ISS with the naked eye at dawn or dusk.
7. Since December 1998, astronauts have performed more than 200 spacewalks on the ISS.
8. The ISS is bigger than a six-bedroom house, with six sleeping quarters, a gym, two bathrooms and a kitchen.
9. Astronauts work out at least two hours every day to combat muscle loss in microgravity.
10. All of the electrical systems on the space station are connected by eight miles of wiring.