Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 48842
Publish Date: 19:32 - 22 October 2020
Thursday, 22 October 2020_An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts touched down safely on the Kazakhstan steppe on Thursday, completing a 196-day mission that began with the first launch under lockdown conditions.

Three-man crew return to Earth from International Space StationNASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed around 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of the Kazakh city of Zhezkazgan at 0254 GMT, footage broadcast by the Russian space agency Roscosmos showed.

Footage from the landing site showed a seated Cassidy bumping elbows with one member of the crew at the recovery site and saluting another after they exited the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft, before they were taken to medical tents ahead of their onward journeys to Moscow and Houston.

"How are things?" asked Cassidy in Russian, smiling.

The three-man crew had blasted off minus the usual fanfare in April with around half the world's population living under national lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

They did not face questions from a press pack in Baikonur and were not waved off by family and friends — both time-honored traditions before the pandemic.

Their pre-flight quarantine was also intensified as they eschewed customary sightseeing trips to Moscow from their training base outside the Russian capital.

Their mission also coincided with the arrival at the space station in May of the first astronauts to blast off from US soil for almost a decade.

The mission, carried out by tycoon Elon Musk's SpaceX company as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, has helped fuel talk of a new "space race" between a number of countries.

But Russia's Roscosmos, which enjoyed a lucrative monopoloy on travel to and from the space station from 2011, remains the fastest player in the game in terms of travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley's May journey to the space station and August return to Earth in the SpaceX craft saw the pair spend the best part of two days in transit.

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