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Ham Astronauts Swap Places on International Space Station


With US Astronaut and ISS Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough, KE5HOD, now back on Earth, two more radio amateurs will head into space this week from Kazakhstan to join the ISS crew members that Kimbrough and Russian crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko left behind on the ISS. The three touched down safely in Kazakhstan on April 10 after spending 173 days on board the orbiting laboratory.

“Our crew landed safely in Kazakhstan!” Kimbrough tweeted shortly after arriving in Kazakhstan. “We are looking forward to time with family and friends.”

During his time on the orbital complex, Kimbrough participated in several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts. He also ventured outside the confines of the space station for four spacewalks.

The Expedition 51/52 crew increment of NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, KG5FYH, and veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, are poised for their own journey of exploration and research on ISS. They will launch in a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on April 20.

The pair will travel on a fast-track, 6-hour course to the space station and dock to the Poisk module. Welcoming them aboard will be Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson, ex-KC5ZTD, Oleg Novitskiy, and Thomas Pesquet, KG5FYG.

Fischer, a first-time space flier, and Yurchikhin, a veteran of four spaceflights, will spend more than 4 months aboard the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth in early September.

NASA-TV will cover pre-launch, launch, and arrival activities starting on April 19.