Three ISS Astronauts Returned To Earth After A Tumultuous Stay On The International Space Station

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Three ISS astronauts returned to Earth on Thursday after a tumultuous stay on the International Space Station (ISS) marked by an oxygen leak on the ISS and the failure of a Soyuz rocket launch that was carrying a new crew to the space station. “The landing took place safely. The crew of Soyuz MS-09 returned safely to Earth after 197 days in space,” Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Twitter.

The Soyuz MS-09 carried home three ISS astronauts, namely, German Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, and Russian Sergey Prokopiev of Roscosmos. The crew landed a little ahead of schedule at 5:02 GMT, as the Russian space agency said on its website. “The crew feels good after their return to Earth,” Roscosmos said.

The dense fog that covered the Kazakh steppe prevented NASA and Roscosmos broadcast the landing of the three ISS astronauts live, as the two space agencies planned to do.

Three ISS Astronauts Came Back Home Safely

When the astronauts took off in June, they were one of the least experienced teams to travel to the International Space Station. Alexander Gerst was the only one who has performed an ISS mission before, in 2014. The first significant incident took place on August 30th, when an oxygen leak occurred due to a tiny hole in the Soyuz module attached to the ISS.

The hole was successfully repaired, but Russia opened an investigation after Roscosmos chief Dimitri Rogozin alluded to the hypothesis of sabotage and a possible “premeditated act.” Rogozin later asserted that the researchers discarded the clue to a manufacturing flaw. Last week, Sergey Prokopiev and also Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko went out into space to inspect the hole, which had caused a slight depressurization of the orbital station in August and took samples of the debris found in the hull and photographed the area.

The three ISS astronauts, who were initially scheduled to return home on December 13th, had to delay their comeback after the failure of a Soyuz rocket launched on October 11th.