Expedition 64 to the International Space Station began in October 2020 with only three crewmembers onboard the orbiting laboratory. By the end of the six-month mission, 10 crewmembers were living and working together at the space station.
The original three crewmembers — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov — arrived at the space station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft on Oct. 14, 2020. The trio spent one week working as members of Expedition 63 before the Soyuz MS-16 crew departed and returned to Earth, marking the official start of Expedition 64. Ryzhikov took over command from NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Cmdr. Chris Cassidy.
Four additional Expedition 64 crewmembers arrived Nov. 17, 2020, with SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission — the first operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts on board. Arriving in the Crew Dragon “Resilience” were NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Another three crewmembers — NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov — joined Expedition 64 with the arrival of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, on April 9, 2021.
Expedition 64 officially ends April 16, when the Soyuz MS-17 crew spacecraft will return to Earth with Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov. Walker temporarily assumed command of the space station on April 15; she is scheduled to return to Earth along with the rest of the Crew-1 astronauts on April 28, 2021.
See the Expedition 64 astronauts and cosmonauts in action in these photos from their mission to space.
The seven-member Expedition 64 crew poses for a portrait inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory, on Jan. 6, 2021 (before the arrival of the Soyuz MS-18 brought the number of crewmembers up to 10.
In the bottom row from left are NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud Sverchkov. In the top row are JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker.
Soyuz MS-18 commander Oleg Novitskiy (at bottom) and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei (center) and Pyotr Dubrov wave from the launch pad prior to boarding their spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 9, 2021.
The newly-expanded 10-member station crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family members and mission officials on Earth, on April 9, 2021.
Soichi Noguchi and Kate Rubins work to configure a radiation shield for temporary sleeping quarters, which NASA calls the Crew Alternate Sleep Accommodation (CASA).
A typical space station expedition involves six crewmembers living and working in space at a time, but this NASA expects to soon have 11 people at the orbiting lab when SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission arrives with another four passengers.
On April 5, the four-person crew of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Resilience” hopped into their spacecraft and rode along as it robotically maneuvered from its docking port to another port on the International Space Station to prepare for upcoming Crew Dragon missions.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins smells plants growing aboard the International Space Station.
JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi is pictured inside the Cupola observatory of the International Space Station, on March 29, 2021.
On Feb. 17, 2021, Russia’s Progress 77 supply ship approaches the International Space Station as seen from the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.
On Feb. 9, 2021, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos uses the tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit (TORU). The TORU maneuvers Russian spacecraft to the docking port.
Working on the hydroponics components for the Plant Water Management study, Michael Hopkins, NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer, explores sustaining plants in microgravity.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins works on the Advanced Combustion in Microgravity Experiments (ACME). Rubins removes research hardware and replaces gear to support fuel efficiency, pollution and fire safety studies in ACME.
Soichi Noguchi, JAXA astronaut, performs maintenance on U.S. spacesuit gear in the Quest airlock, on Feb. 3, 2021.
NASA astronaut Victor Glover as seen during a spacewalk on Jan. 27, 2021. In all, the Expedition 64 astronauts completed a total of six spacewalks to perform maintenance and upgrades at the space station, including new solar arrays.
On Feb. 4, 2021, inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module, NASA’s Kate Rubins poses with two AstroBee robotic assistants. The AstroBees are being tested to autonomously navigate and maneuver inside the orbiting lab.
On Feb. 4, 20201, Shannon Walker, Flight Engineer for Expedition 64, conducts research for the Capillary Structures technology. The research explores fluid and gas mixtures and could lead to lightweight, more reliable life support systems for future missions.
The astronauts living and working on the International Space Station posed for a festive photo to ring in the new year as 2020 became 2021. NASA astronaut Victor Glover shared the photo on Twitter with the caption “God bless you and this new year! I pray for renewed strength, compassion, and truth and that we can all be surrounded by family and friends…”
Miles above the South China Sea, The Dongsha Atoll National Park, in the Republic of China glows brightly in this image from the ISS taken on Jan. 26, 2021.
Sunrise on Earth’s horizon offers a breathtaking view from the International Space Station on Feb. 3, 2021. The ISS was off the coast of Southern Chile about 271 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
On Feb. 1, 2021, the aurora above the North Atlantic coast near Newfoundland and Labrador offers a stunning green glow, as seen from the International Space Station.
Aboard the ISS on Feb. 1, 2021, Expedition 64 crewmates—Soichi Noguchi, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover—prepare for the next spacewalk with pre-breathing protocols. The exercise is a prevention for the “bends.”
NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (out of frame) and Victor Glover prepare for a spacewalk. Glover attaches safety tethers and hardware.
On Jan. 28, 2021, Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins, NASA astronauts on Expedition 64, examine leaf samples growing inside the European Columbus laboratory and the all important key to future human missions: space agriculture.
From over 250 miles above Atlanta Georgia, the waxing gibbous moon hovers just below the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft is docked to the Harmony module on Jan. 26, 2021.
Inside the Quest airlock a pair of U.S. spacesuits sit awaiting the next spacewalk. The suits are surrounded by a variety of hardware on Dec. 28, 2020.
As the team prepares for the first spacewalk of 2021, NASA’s Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins, in suits and NASA’s Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA, pose for a photo.
In preparation for the first spacewalk of 2021, Roscosmos’ Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Rhzhikov join NASA’s Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins for a photo on Jan. 27, 2021.