News Space News

Soyuz MS-17 returns three International Space Station crew members to Kazakhstan

The crew departed for the space station on October 14, 2020, inside a Russian spacecraft called Soyuz MS-17.
Soyuz landing

Two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut have landed safely in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan following their six-month stint at the International Space Station (ISS), according to Roskosmos space agency.

Cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and astronaut Kathleen Rubins touched down as scheduled in the early morning hours of April 17 at 0455 GMT.

The three had been at the space station since mid-October 2020.

Their mission was the last scheduled Russian flight carrying a US crew member, marking an end to a long dependency as the US revives its own crew launch capability in an effort to drive down the cost of sending astronauts to space.

It was the first ISS mission for Kud-Sverchkov and the second for Ryzhikov and Rubins.

On April 22, the private firm SpaceX is scheduled to launch a four-person mission to the ISS, made up of astronauts from the United States, France, and Japan. It will be the first manned SpaceX mission to reuse the Falcon rocket and the Dragon crew capsule.

NASA recently began using US private companies for transport to the ISS after years of relying on the Russian space programme to reach the orbiting laboratory.