Russian astronaut Anton Skoplerov has handed over control of the ISS space station to American Thomas Marshburn. The relocation was planned for a long time, but now comes amid intense tensions between Russia and the West over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
NASA TV reports that Anton Schaplerov handed over his captaincy to Thomas Marshburn at an official ceremony.
A total of ten people gathered for the ceremony. Although people on earth face ‘problems’, the ISS remains a ‘symbol of cooperation’, the Russian said during a short speech. Marsburn said thank you. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be a captain,” said the American. After that, plenty of warm-ups took place.
Shkaplerov will return to Earth on Wednesday with Soyuz MS-19, along with his Russian colleagues Pyotr Dubrov and American Mark Vande Hei. Speculations that the latter could not fly with Soyuz due to tension were vehemently denied by both sides.
The disconnection of the Rosvet block is scheduled for 09:21 Belgian time and lands in the grasslands of Kazakhstan at 13:28 Belgian time.
Vande Hey and Toprov will stay in space for 355 consecutive days, orbiting 5,680 Earths. The American broke the US single-time record of 340 days in space.
After landing, the returning crew disbanded, according to NASA “in standard practice.” Two Russians return to Star City in Moscow and the Americans return to Houston.
There will be three Americans, three Russians and one German in the ISS. The recent arrival of three Russians, due to a manual instead of an automatic connection, did not go unnoticed as they appeared in front of the camera. In space costumes in the colors of the Ukrainian flag⁇
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