American NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi safely landed their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft in Kazakhstan at about 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday. The Expedition 48/49 trio completed hundreds of scientific research experiments throughout 115 days in space aboard the International Space Station, working with three other ISS crewmembers who remain on the station. The world class space lab, bypassing international politics and cultural conflicts, continues to demonstrate how humans, when they set their minds to it, can rise above any barrier to work for the betterment of all people and life on Earth.
The ISS has been continuously occupied for 15 years and 363 days since the arrival of Expedition 1 on November 2, 2000–the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, surpassing space station Mir’s previous record of 9 years and 357 days.
Expedition 49/50’s Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, will operate the station for three weeks until the arrival of three new crew members from Expedition 50/51, Peggy Whitson of NASA, French spationaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos. The new crew is scheduled to launch November 17, 2016, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.