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Astronaut trio touch back to Earth after half-a-year amid stars

Thu 22 Oct 2020    
| 2 min read

A trio of space travellers, on NASA’s 63rd long term expedition, safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying astronauts US space agency NASA’s Chris Cassidy, and Russian state corp Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 7:54 a.m. (2:54 GMT) Thursday. After a brief medical checkup, the three were be taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan from where they will depart home.

Expedition 63 trio, Chris Cassidy, left, Anatoly Ivanishin, center, and Ivan Vagner, right, pose for a picture at International Space Station on the day of departure [Image: Chris Cassidy/Twitter]

The crew smiled as they talked to masked members of the recovery team, and NASA reported that they were in good condition.

As part of additional precautions due to the coronavirus, the rescue team members meeting the crew were tested for the virus and the number of people involved in the recovery effort was limited.

Back on Earth! Astronaut trio checked by medics after safely landing in Kazakhstan
[Image: Roscosmos Space Agency]

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner spent 196 days in orbit since arriving at the station on April 9.

NASA’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos’ Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov arrived at the orbiting outpost a week ago for a six-month stay.

Before the crew’s departure, Russian cosmonauts were able to temporarily seal the air leak they tried to locate for several months. The small leak has posed no immediate danger to the station’s crew, and Roscosmos engineers have been working on a permanent seal.

Back in May, the Expedition welcomed the crew of Crew Dragon Demo-2, the first crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour. The mission’s two crew members Doug Harley and Bob Behnken undocked from the International Space Station on 1 August 2020, to help bolster research on the station and participate in several spacewalks outside of the station.

NASA also made headlines this Tuesday after their Osiris-Rex spacecraft briefly ‘kissed’ the surface of asteroid Bennu, to collect samples for return to Earth. 

Particles dispersed as the Osiris-Rex spacecraft attempts to take a sample of the surface of asteroid Bennu
[Image: NASA]

The reported crushing of rocks on the asteroid surface — that sent rubble flying in the process — was a sure sign that samples had been bagged, said scientists. 

[Sourced from Agencies]