Expedition 63 to the International Space Station began in April 2020, after the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft arrived at the orbiting lab with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy (left) and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin (center) and Ivan Vagner.
The three-person Expedition 63 will be joined by NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will arrive May 28 with the first crewed test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. If all goes well with SpaceX's demonstration mission, the first operational Crew Dragon flight could bring three more crewmembers to the space station before the end of Expedition 63, which is scheduled to last until October. See photos of the Expedition 63 mission in this Space.com gallery.
The Expedition 63 prime crewmembers pose for a photo at the Garagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, on Nov. 12, 2019. From left: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
The official insignia for Expedition 63.
Prior to their scheduled April 9, 2020 launch, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, the prime crewmembers for Expedition 63, arrive at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, for qualification exams on March 11.
The Expedition 63 backup crewmembers — NASA astronaut Steve Bowen and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Babkin — pose for photos in front of a Soyuz trainer on March 11, 2020.
Expedition 63 prime crewmembers pose with the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft during pre-launch training activities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. From left: Ivan Vagner, Anatoly Ivanishin and Chris Cassidy.
As the prime crewmembers flew to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the trio affixed their mission insignia on the wall of the plane on March 24.
At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Kazakhstan, Expedition 63 crewmembers, both prime and backup, participate in pre-launch activities. From left to right are Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, and backup crewmembers Andrei Babkin, Sergey Ryzhikov and Steve Bowen.
On April 9, 2020, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and his Russian crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, journey from building 254 to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Prior to launching to the International Space Station on April 9, 2020, Expedition 63 crewmembers report to Roscomos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.
Related: Coronavirus precautions are changing life for NASA astronaut's launch to space station
On April 9, 2020, the three-person crew of Expedition 63 lifted off in their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft atop a Soyuz rocket from Launch Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Full story: Soyuz crew 'socially distances' from Earth with launch to space station
The Soyuz MS-16 carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner approaches the International Space Station while orbiting over the coast of Peru, on April 9, 2020.
Once aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 crewmembers pose for photos with Expedition 62 crewmembers after Roscosmos' Oleg Skripochka (bottom right) handed over station command to NASA's Chris Cassidy (bottom left). Expedition 62 returned to Earth on April 17, 2020.
Above Skripochka are NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan. On the left, above Cassidy, are Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
On board the International Space Station on April 16, 2020, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy shows a meal packet left for him by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, who returned to Earth Feb. 6, 2020. Cassidy and Parmitano were crewmates during the Expedition 36 mission in 2013.
Expedition 62 crewmembers Jessica Meir, Drew Morgan and Oleg Skripochka begin their return journey to Earth on April 17, 2020, as the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship undocks from the Zvezda service module.
Full story: Soyuz spacecraft lands safely with US-Russian crew from space station
Roscosmos cosmonaut Antaoly Ivanishin, Expedition 63 flight engineer, practices remote spacecraft maneuvering techniques in the Zvezda service module on the Tele-Operated Robotics Unit (TORU), which enables a cosmonaut to dock a Russian spacecraft manually.
Expedition 63 flight engineer Ivan Vagner practices remote spacecraft maneuvering techniques in the Zvezda service module on the Tele-Operated Robotics Unit (TORU).
Expedition 63 Cmdr. Chris Cassidy connects water umbilicals and checks for leaks in the Combustion Integrated Rack at the International Space Station. This research device allows for safe fuel, flame and soot studies to be conducted in microgravity.
Inside the Columbus laboratory module of the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy cleans botany research hardware after growing lettuce and mizuna greens.
Related: Astronauts enjoy space veggies and look to the future of cosmic salads
Inside the Kibo laboratory module of the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Cmdr. Chris Cassidy sets up and Astrobee robotic assistant for mobility and vision system tests, on April 30, 2020.
Related: Tiny robot 'bumbles' through the air aboard space station
On May 4, 2020, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner practice CPR during an emergency training session. Space station crews regularly train for emergency scenarios to be prepared.
Related: How astronauts' CPR training could save lives on Earth (Op-Ed)
Inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Cmdr. Chris Cassidy of NASA cleans does routine maintenance on the U.S. spacesuits.
In the vestibule between the U.S. Harmony module and JAXA's H-II Transfer Vehicle-9, expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA applies a mission sticker. The HTV-9, following this event, will be released into Earth orbit completing an 85-day cargo mission.
Before JAXA's HTV-9 is released from the Harmony module, Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos signs the vestibule near the Expedition 63 mission sticker.
JAXA's H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) resupply ship completes its 85-day mission to the International Space Station on Aug. 18, 2020 and re-enters Earth's orbit.
Takin' Out The Trash
Over the weekend of Aug. 8, 2020, NASA's Chris Cassidy gathers garbage for disposal aboard the International Space Station.
Before commercial crew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley (front row, from left) begin their journey back to Earth, the Expedition 63 crew paused to pose for a final photo including Roscosmos' Ivan Vagner, NASA's Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos' Anatoly Ivanishin (back row, from left).
Inside the Quest airlock aboard the ISS, NASA astronaut Bob Behnken poses with a U.S. spacesuit on July 26, 2020.
On July 5, 2020, Comet Neowise is visible from the International Space Station's orbit between Tunisia and Italy above the Mediterranean Sea.
Aboard the International Space Station, Roscosmos' Anatoly Ivanishin (left) and Ivan Vagner run through an emergency evacuation simulation with NASA's Chris Cassidy who is out of frame. The pair, working from inside the Zvezda service module, rehearsed quick entry into and rapid undocking of the Soyuz MS-16 for Earth re-entry.
BEAM—the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module—has been attached to the International Space Station since 2016. During cargo activities on July 7, 2020, NASA's Bob Behnken sits inside the module.
During operations to retrieve charcoal filers on July 1, 2020 Chris Cassidy of NASA sits inside the BEAM.
In this photo taken during a July 1, 2020 spacewalk by NASA's Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy, three different pieces of the International Space Station are prominently on display—the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 and Europe's laboratory module. The trio are each attached to the U.S. Harmony module and the International Docking Adapter is on top.
Inside the ISS's U.S. Density laboratory, NASA's Doug Hurley works on science hardware. The research facility—the Multi-use Variable-g Platform—provides up to 2 g of artificial study of fruit flies, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others.
Before beginning their June 26, 2020 spacewalk, NASA's Bob Behnken (left) and Chris Cassidy suit up with help from NASA's Doug Hurley (middle left) and Roscosmos' Ivan Vagner.
Inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock, a U.S. spacesuit, posed with a pair of mascots: Tremor (left) and Little Earth, is pictured before the spacewalks of astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken to upgrade the orbital lab power systems. The plushies arrived with the first two SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles.
Aboard the ISS, Chris Cassidy of NASA works with the Food Physiology experiment inside a glovebag. The experiment uses biological samples to identify the effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators.
On June 18, 2020 inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy (left) and Bob Behnken prepare spacesuits for the upcoming spacewalks.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (foreground) and Doug Hurley brief mission controllers about their journey in the new Crew Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station on June 1, 2020.
Chris Cassidy, NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander, unloads the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 on May 26, 2020. The HTV-9 arrived on May 25 carrying fresh food and other supplies for the International Space Station.
On May 25, 2020, NASA's Chris Cassidy (left) and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, prepare the enter the HTV-9 with personal protective gear donned. PPE is necessary to prevent dust and other dislodged irritants from entering the airways and eyes.
Inside the Zvezda service module, cosmonauts Ivan Vagner (foreground) and Anatoly Ivanishin work on the Russian Pilot-T experiment. Vagner wears Neurolab hardware for the experiment exploring how space travelers may pilot future spacecraft.
On May 14, 2020, from the ISS's Zvezda service module, Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, record a public affairs event for Russian media.
- The International Space Station: Inside and out (infographic)
- Cosmic quiz: Do you know the International Space Station?
- In Photos: The Expedition 62 mission to the International Space Station
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