Space Station Crew Returns to Earth, Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
October 5, 2018World News

Three astronauts, who spent 197 days at the International Space Station, returned to Earth on Oct. 4, as their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft hit the ground safely under an orange and white canopy.

The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft landing
The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft is seen as it lands with near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Oct. 4, 2018. (Bill Ingalls/NASA)

Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold from NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, went through “a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan,” NASA said.

jets fire on the spacecraft
The landing jets fire as the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft comes in for a landing on Oct. 4, 2018, in Kazakhstan. (Bill Ingalls/NASA)

The astronauts provided hands-on support for scientific research in low-Earth orbit, helped keep the orbiting laboratory fully operational, and performed three spacewalks.

“The crew completed hundreds of experiments during its 197-day expedition in space. Highlights included an investigation to study ultra-cold quantum gases using the first commercial European facility for microgravity research and a system that uses surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid separation,” NASA said.

Feustel, who served as Expedition 56 commander, and Arnold, who served as flight engineer, participated in dozens of educational downlink events while in space, reaching hundreds of thousands of students.

Feustel has now logged more than 226 days in space on three spaceflights.

NASA astronaut on spacewalk
NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel during a six-hour, 19-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station. (NASA)

Arnold has spent more than 209 days in space during the course of two missions.

astranout Richard Arnold
Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, who during recent spacewalks participated in replacing components of the space station’s cooling system and communications network, and installed new wireless communication antennas for external experiments. (NASA)

The duo performed a total of three spacewalks to conduct maintenance and upgrades.

Artemyev, who served as Soyuz Commander, conducted one spacewalk, with fellow cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev. Their spacewalk timed out at 7 hours and 46 minutes, the longest in Russian space program history.

Oleg Artemyev at a press conference
File photo of Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, speaking with family during Russian Sokol suit pressure checks in preparation for a launch onboard the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft on March 25, 2014. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Artemyev now has spent 366 days in space on his two flights.

Meanwhile, Expedition 57 continues station research and operations, with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin scheduled to launch on Oct. 11 for a same-day arrival, adding to the crew onboard the International Space Station.

Credit: Roscosmos via Storyful

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