ISS crew lands in Kazakhstan after greater than 200 days

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A U.S.-Russian crew landed safely Friday within the steppes of Kazakhstan following a stint on the Worldwide House Station and was greeted with additional precautions because of the coronavirus.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan. and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka touched down as scheduled Friday morning. Their Soyuz capsule landed underneath a striped orange-and-white parachute about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Dzhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.

Russian officers stated they took stringent measures to guard the crew members amid the pandemic. The restoration group and medical personnel assigned to assist the three out of the capsule and to carry out post-flight checks had been underneath shut medical commentary for practically a month earlier than the touchdown and examined for the coronavirus.

Morgan wrapped up a 272-day mission on his first flight into area. He carried out seven area walks, 4 of which had been to enhance and lengthen the lifetime of the station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which appears to be like for proof of darkish matter within the universe.

Meir and Skripochka spent 205 days in area, with Meir finishing up the primary three all-women spacewalks with crewmate Christina Koch, who returned from area in February.

The crew members smiled as they talked to medical consultants sporting masks. Following a fast checkup, they are going to be flown by helicopter to Baikonur, from the place Skripochka will likely be taken to Moscow, stated Vyacheslav Rogozhnikov, a Russian medical official who oversaw the crew’s return.

Morgan and Meir must be pushed from Baikonur to Kyzylorda, 300 kilometers (190 miles) away, to board a NASA flight to Houston. Restrictions on worldwide flights imposed by Kazakhstan required the lengthy drive, Rogozhnikov stated.

“A 300-kilometer trip after touchdown is kind of a load on the astronauts,” he stated, including that Russia deployed its docs to assist the astronauts, if wanted.

Skripochka will spend three weeks underneath commentary at a medical facility on the Star Metropolis cosmonaut coaching middle outdoors Moscow, Russian area company Roscosmos stated. Star Metropolis officers stated the medical personnel monitoring him will put on hazmat fits to guard him from changing into contaminated with the brand new virus.

On Thursday, the Russian authorities coronavirus headquarters reported the primary an infection on the Star Metropolis, which serves as the principle hub for pre-flight coaching of U.S., Russian and different worldwide crew members of the Worldwide House Station. The Star Metropolis additionally has residential quarters for cosmonauts and assist workers.

Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin stated Wednesday that the Russian area company had 30 coronavirus circumstances.

The crew returned to Earth precisely 50 years after the Apollo 13 astronauts splashed down within the Pacific after an oxygen tank explosion aborted the moon-landing mission.

Talking from the orbiting outpost earlier than their touchdown, the three stated that coming again to a world drastically modified by the pandemic can be difficult. Morgan stated they tried to maintain up with coronavirus information in spaace, however added that it was laborious to understand what was actually happening under.

“It’s fairly surreal for us to see this complete state of affairs unfolding on the planet under,” Meir stated. “We are able to inform you that the Earth nonetheless appears to be like simply as beautiful as all the time from up right here, so it’s tough to imagine all of the adjustments which have taken place since each of us have been up right here.”

A brand new crew comprising NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner arrived on the station on April 9. They stated earlier than blastoff that that they had been underneath a really strict quarantine for a month earlier than the flight and felt effectively.

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