Space trio returns to Earth after six months

MOSCOW: A trio of space travellers safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying US astronaut Chris Cassidy, as well as Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan.

After a brief medical checkup, the three were taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan.

Cassidy will board a Nasa plane back to Houston, while Vagner and Ivanishin will fly home to Star City, Russia.

The crew smiled as they talked to masked members of the recovery team, and Nasa reported that they were in good condition.

As part of additional precautions due to the 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.

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner spent 196 days in orbit, having arrived at the station on April 9. They left behind Nasa’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who arrived at the orbiting outpost a week ago for a six-month stay.

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