February 15, 2015 – Every Apollo, Space Shuttle and International Space Station mission has had an official portrait taken of the crew. But the photo for Expedition 45 must rate among the best crew photos ever: Besides donning traditional Jedi robes, each crew member wields a different colored lightsaber. Another Star Wars-related touch is the satellite with solar panels extended, reminiscent of an X-Wing fighter with S-foils in attack position, next to Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui:
Look closely to the right of Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko and U.S. astronaut and Commander Scott Kelly, and you will see – GASP! – the Death Star in the background.
Expedition 45 will be the 45th expedition to the International Space Station.
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko, already part of Expedition 44 as part of their year-long stay aboard the ISS, will transfer to Expedition 45. The 45th expedition will begin when Soyuz TMA-18M arrives at the ISS in September 2015. The mission ends when the Soyuz departs in November 2015. Kelly, Korniyenko and Sergey Volkov are then to transfer to the crew of Expedition 46.
No word yet on whether the remaining crew members, scheduled to remain on the ISS through December, will receive a special screening of Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (premieres December 18, 2015).