On April 12, 2017 at 11:04 UTC the Chang Zheng-3B/G2 (Long March-3B/G2) rocket-carrier was launched from Xichang Cosmodrome, Sichuan province, southwestern China. The rocket orbited the “ChinaSat-16” telecommunications satellite. The satellite, also known as “Shijian-13” will deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of China, airline travelers and high-speed trains. The satellite also has an experimental mission to test laser communications technology and electric thrusters to maintain its position in geostationary orbit.
On April 10, 2017 at 11:21 UTC the Russian “Soyuz MS-02” landing capsule landed safely in a distance of about 147 kilometers to south-east from the city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
photo by NASA
The spacecraft delivered to Earth the 3 members of ISS’s Expedition 50 – Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko as well as American astronaut Robert Kimbrough. They spent in space 173 days. Three other ISS crew members – Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and American astronaut Peggy Whitson remained in orbit aboard
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On April 10, 2017 at 07:57 UTC the Russian “Soyuz MS-02” spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station to deliver to Earth the 3 members of Expedition 50 – Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko as well as American astronaut Robert Kimbrough.
On April 8, 2017, Georgy Mikhajlovich Grechko, pilot-cosmonaut of USSR, passed away at the age of 85. A retired cosmonaut and twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Georgy Grechko, performed three journeys into space – one of which was a record. The cosmonaut died on Saturday morning “because of age and a vast number of chronic illnesses,” his daughter Olga told TASS. In 1978 Georgy Grechko was the first officially appointed space postmaster.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences to the family and friends of cosmonaut Georgy Grechko on his passing.
On March 30, 2017 at 22:27 UTC the "Falcon 9” rocket-carrier was launched from LC-39A of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch was performed by the "SpaceX” private company supported by the 45th Space Wing of US Air Force. The rocket orbited the SES 10 communications satellite. The launch marked the first time SpaceX has reused the first stage of one of its Falcon 9 rockets. The first stage of the Falcon 9 was the star of the show, making a historic relaunch after SpaceX recovered the booster on a Dragon mission in April 2016. The previously-flown booster (the first stage of the Falcon 9) performed its mission successfully and in 9 minutes after the launch it carried out a vertical landing on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean. Touchdown on SpaceX’s sea-based landing platform occurred around 340 miles (550 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral.... Read more »
On March 30, 2017, American astronauts Robert Kimbrough and Peggy Whitsonperformed the spacewalk to continue work to set up a second docking port for U.S. crew ferry spaceships. They also installed an upgraded computer relay box and protective shielding. It was the 6th spacewalk for Kimbrough and the 9th for Whitson. Peggy Whitson, a veteran of two earlier long-duration station visits, set a new record for cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut, surpassing Sunita Williams’ mark of 50 hours and 40 minutes. When the spacewalk concluded, Whitson’s total EVA time stood at 53 hours and 22 minutes, moving her up to fifth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers.
On March 24, 2017, an informal meeting of Julius Cacka, delegate to the FIP Section for Astrophilately (Czech Republic), and Igor Rodin, past Chairman of the FIP Section for Astrophilately took place in the “Courtyard Marriott” Hotel in Prague. The two astrophilatelic collectors discussed different questions concerning the future of Astrophilately and the next activities to promote Astrophilately.
On March 24, 2017, American astronauts Robert Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet performed the spacewalk. The spacewalkers disconnected cables and electrical connections between the “PMA-3” docking adapter and the station’s “Tranquility” module to prepare for the relocation of the docking adapter to the space-facing port on the “Harmony” module, in advance of the delivery of a new docking adapter to the complex next year for commercial crew spaceships owned by Boeing and SpaceX. Kimbrough and Pesquet also lubricated a latching end effector on the Dextre robot, a two-armed handyman provided by the Canadian Space Agency, inspected a radiator valve to look for signs of a small ammonia leak, and replaced cameras outside the Japanese lab module. The EVA lasted six-and-a-half hour. It was the fifth spacewalk for Kimbrough and the second for Pesquet.... Read more »
On March 19, 2017 at 14:46 UTC the "Dragon” capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at about 320 km southwest from Long Beach, California, USA. The Dragon delivered to Earth 1652 kilograms of cargo. It was the "SpaceX CRS-10” mission. CRS means Commercial Resupply Services. It was the 10th flight of Dragon to the ISS with docking.
On March 18, 2017 at 21:20 UTC the station's robotic arm removed the “Dragon” SpX-10 (CRS-10 flight) unmanned supply spacecraft from a berthing port on the Harmony module of the International Space Station. The spacecraft was moved to a stow position below the station where it stayed overnight. On March 19, controlled by ground controllers and then American astronaut Robert Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, the robotic arm let go of the "Dragon” resupply vehicle at 09:11 UTC.