A trio of space travellers have returned safely to Earth after a six-month mission on the International Space Station.
The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying Nasa astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed in Kazakhstan. After a brief medical check-up, the three will be taken to Dzhezkazgan, from where they will depart for home.
The crew smiled as they talked to masked members of the recovery team, and Nasa and Roscosmos reported that they were in good condition.
As part of additional precautions due to 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.
The trio had 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.