Note: This is an adapted reprint of a NASA press release, “Station Crew Back on Earth After 197 Days in Space”.
FOR RELEASE ON OCTOBER 4, 2018
Bozeman, Mont. – Astronaut Ricky Arnold—who serves as a volunteer member of the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors—is one of the three International Space Station crew members who landed safely in Kazakhstan today.
Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, along with Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos landed at 7:44 a.m. EDT (5:44 p.m. in Kazakhstan) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
Both Arnold and Feustel participated in dozens of educational events while in space as part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, reaching more than 200,000 students in 29 states. A former middle school teacher, Arnold continued and concluded NASA's Year of Education on Station. While on ISS, he conducted and recorded lessons that Teacher-in-Space Christa McAuliffe had planned to conduct on board space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Arnold has now logged more than 209 days in space on two spaceflights. In total, the crew completed hundreds of experiments during its 197-day expedition.
Arnold and Feustel ventured outside the space station on three spacewalks to effect maintenance and upgrades during Expeditions 55 and 56. Their work included replacing and upgrading external cameras, including those that will facilitate the approach and docking of the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft when they begin launching soon from American soil. The spacewalkers also replaced components of the space station’s cooling system and communications network, and installed new wireless communication antennas for external experiments. Feustel has accumulated 61 hours and 48 minutes over nine career spacewalks, and ranks third overall among American astronauts. Arnold has 32 hours and 4 minutes over five career spacewalks.
Artemyev conducted one spacewalk with fellow cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev to manually launch four small technology satellites and install an experiment called Icarus onto the Russian segment of the space station. The spacewalk timed out at 7 hours and 46 minutes, the longest in Russian space program history. Artemyev now has spent 366 days in space on his two flights.
Expedition 57 continues station research and operations with a crew comprised of Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos. Gerst assumed command of the station as Feustel prepared to depart. NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are scheduled to launch Oct. 11 for a same-day arrival, increasing the crew size to five.
For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.