Following the detachment of the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft from the ISS (International Space Station), at 2308 GMT on 27 February, the spacecraft carrying the three space-farers carried out a standard 3.5 hour return trip to Earth. Following separation of the OM (Orbital Module) and IPM (instrumentation/Propulsion Module), the DM (Descent Module) continued its solo descent to Kazakhstan, touching down at 0231 GMT on 28 February.
On-board the Soyuz craft were Mission Commander cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, accompanied by Flight Engineers astronaut Mark Vande Hei and astronaut Joe Acaba. This crew spent 168 days in space and participated in several spacewalks, mainly focusing on maintenance work on the ISS’s robotic equipment.
With the return of Expedition 54 to Earth, Expedition 55 takes over managing the station. This consists of Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai. These three expect to be accompanied by two NASA astronauts; Ricky Arnold and Drew Fesutel and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev on 23 March, following their planned launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 21 March.