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U.S.-Russian trio returns to Earth from space station on Sputnik anniversary

Soyuz touchdown
On the end of its parachute, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft fires its landing pyrotechnic items as a result of it touches down, bringing a U.S.-Russian crew once more to Earth from the Worldwide Space Station. (NASA {Photograph} / Bill Ingalls)

What greater resolution to rejoice the 61st anniversary of the start of the Space Age than to see the worthwhile return of U.S. and Russian spacefliers from orbit?

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, touched down throughout the steppes of Kazakhstan at 5:44 p.m. native time (4:44 a.m. PT) presently, 61 years after Russians despatched their Sputnik satellite tv for pc television for laptop into space to kick off the U.S.-Soviet space race.

The landing acquired right here hours after the trio’s departure from the Worldwide Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Their tour of duty in space amounted to 197 days, highlighted by three spacewalks undertaken by Feustel and Arnold to interchange and enhance space station gear.

Artemyev acquired in on some spacewalk movement as successfully. He went on an outing with Russian crewmate Sergey Prokopyev in August, all through which they tossed Four nanosatellites into orbit.

The trio’s departure leaves three crew members aboard the realm station, headed by German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who took over the commander’s place from Feustel. Prokopyev and NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor fill out the current crew.

NASA’s Nick Hague and Russia’s Alexey Ovchinin are due to expertise one different Soyuz to the station on Oct. 11 — an arrival that may improve the crew once more to five.

The flight is continuous no matter an episode sparked by the detection of an air leak aboard a Soyuz spacecraft that launched in June. This week, Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin talked about that leak wasn’t introduced on by a producing defect, reviving rumors about potential sabotage.

NASA issued a press launch on Wednesday to quell the rumors.

“Ruling out a producing defect signifies that that’s an isolated concern which does not categorically impact future manufacturing,” NASA talked about. “This conclusion would not primarily suggest the outlet was created intentionally or with mal-intent.”

NASA and the Russian space firm are persevering with to analysis the incident, and NASA talked about there are tentative plans to conduct a spacewalk subsequent month to assemble additional information. NASA’s assertion seems to advocate that the outlet might have been created by chance and was patched up all through preparations for launch.

Sputnik’s launch isn’t the one trigger why Oct. 4 is a red-letter day in space historic previous: Within the current day moreover marks the 14th anniversary of the SpaceShipOne flight that acquired the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private-sector spaceflight.

The heir to SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, is at current current course of testing in preparation for enterprise service.

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