The cycle continues for both astronauts and cosmonauts working onboard the International Space Station as three men from space return home.
Image Credit: IngallsImages via Jack Fischer (Twitter)
Randy Bresnik of NASA, Paolo Nespoli of the ESA, and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos have each returned to Earth in time for the holidays after spending 139 days in space from the Earth-orbiting space lab that we call the International Space Station.
The return mission slashed the current International Space Station crew count from six to three, leaving Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos to fend for themselves until new crew members eventually replace the homebound men.
Bresnik, Nespoli, and Ryazanskiy all hitched a ride on a Russian Soyuz MS-05 space capsule, which landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday with the help of a parachute-assisted landing system. The spacecraft reportedly touched down at approximately 3:37 A.M. Eastern time.
A few minutes after the spacecraft contacted the ground, an extraction crew visited the landing site to greet the astronauts and cosmonaut and conduct preliminary health checkups. As it would seem, everyone made it back home safely.
It won’t be long before the International Space Station returns to full capacity. Three new crew members, including Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will take off from a Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft on Sunday, December 17th and join the remaining crew members.
Notably, an International Space Station resupply mission initially slated for launch earlier this week saw unexpected delays. Now rescheduled for Friday, that launch should provide the new crew members with plenty of supplies and science experiments to keep them busy when they arrive.