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3 International Space Station (ISS) crew members gear up for homecoming on Monday, ending their 173-day mission in space

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Aerial View of NASA. Wikimedia

Washington, April 8, 2017: Three crew members aboard the International Space Station are packing up their gear for a homecoming on Monday, ending their 173-day mission in space, NASA said.

Expedition 50 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will take a ride back to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft.

The are scheduled to land Monday at 7:21 a.m. EDT (4.51 p.m. India time) in Kazakhstan.

“Commander Shane Kimbrough, who is returning to Earth early Monday, took it easy Friday aboard the International Space Station. He and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet mainly performed light duty tasks and continued their daily exercise to stay healthy in space,” NASA scientists wrote in a blog post on Friday.

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“Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are returning home Monday with Kimbrough, continued packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft that will parachute the trio to a landing in Kazakhstan after a 173 days in space,” the blog post said.

Ryzhikov, who is on his first mission, will command the Soyuz during its undocking and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Borisenko and Kimbrough are both wrapping up their second visit to space.

Whitson will become station commander for the second time in her career Sunday less than 24 hours before her crewmates undock from the Poisk module.

She stays behind with fellow Expedition 50-51 crew members Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy. (IANS)

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NASA To Develop Lunar Landers, Reusable Systems For Astronauts To Land Moon

When we send astronauts to the moon in the next decade, it will be in a sustainable fashion.

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When we send astronauts to the moon in the next decade, it will be in a sustainable fashion. Pixabay

With its eyes set on returning humans to the moon, NASA is inviting US-based companies to help design and develop lunar landers, reusable systems for astronauts to land on the earth’s natural satellite.

“We want to get started as quickly as possible. We are inviting industry and other potential partners to meet with us next week at NASA headquarters to discuss human lunar landers,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in an op-ed at news site OZY.com on Friday.

The US space agency is planning to test new human-class landers on the moon, beginning 2024, with the goal of sending a crew to it 2028.

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The US space agency is planning to test new human-class landers on the moon, beginning 2024, with the goal of sending a crew to it 2028. Pixabay

Through multi-phased lunar exploration partnerships, NASA is asking American companies to study the best approach to landing astronauts on the moon and start the development as quickly as possible with current and future anticipated technologies.

Also Read: 2018 Fourth-hottest Year Since 1880; Earth Set to Get Warmer, Says NASA

“Building on our model in low-Earth orbit, we’ll expand our partnerships with industry and other nations to explore the moon and advance our missions to farther destinations such as Mars, with America leading the way,” Bridenstine said in a statement.

“When we send astronauts to the moon in the next decade, it will be in a sustainable fashion,” he said. (IANS)