Skip to main content

Russian cosmonaut and film crew returned safely to Earth from space station

A trio of Russian crew members consisting of a cosmonaut, an actress, and a film producer has landed safely after departing the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday, Saturday, October 16. The three traveled home to Earth in a Russian Soyuz MS-18 craft and landed in Kazakhstan, southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan.

The cosmonaut, Oleg Novitskiy of Russian space agency Roscosmos, has spent 191 days in space performing research and helping to maintain the station. He was accompanied by actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko who were on the ISS to film scenes for an upcoming movie. The movie, titled Challenge, is a cooperative project between Moscow media companies and Roscosmos.

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. NASA

The three said farewell to the remaining ISS crew — consisting of European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov — yesterday afternoon before getting into the Soyuz MS-18.

The hatch between the spacecraft and the station was closed at 4:41 p.m. ET (1:41 p.m. PT), and the spacecraft undocked at 9:14 p.m. ET (6:14 p.m. PT).

A Russian trio said farewell to the station crew and closed the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship hatch at 4:41pm ET today. They undock at 9:14pm this evening. More…

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) October 16, 2021

The Soyuz traveled back to Earth in a short flight, arriving a little after midnight ET. A safe touchdown was achieved at 12:36 a.m. ET on Sunday morning (9:36 p.m. PT on Saturday night).

According to NASA, the trio was collected from the landing site by Russian helicopters and taken to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. From there, they returned to their training base in Star City, Russia, aboard a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft.

Touchdown after 191 days in space for @Novitskiy_ISS and 12 days in space for two Russian filmmakers! More…

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) October 17, 2021

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft had caused a worrying issue on the ISS on Friday, October 15, when a thruster fired incorrectly during a test and pushed the space station out of alignment. Roscosmos says that the crew of the ISS were not in any danger, and fortunately, the Russian trio on the MS-18 was returned to Earth safely.

However, this was the second such incident this year, as a newly docked Russian module for the ISS — the Nauka Multipurpose Logistics Module — errantly fired its thrusters and pushed the station out of alignment in July.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
JUICE mission to Jupiter sends back first images of Earth from space
Shortly after launch on 14 April, ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, captured this stunning view of Earth. The coastline around the Gulf of Aden can be made out to the right of centre, with patchy clouds above land and sea.

The European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft, which launched last week, has sent back its first images from space -- and they are some stunning views of the Earth. The JUICE mission is on its way to explore three of Jupiter's largest moons -- Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa -- but it will be traveling for eight years before it arrives at the Jupiter system in 2031.

In the meantime, the spacecraft's cameras have been taking images pointed back at Earth. The images were captured shortly after launch on Friday, April 14, using JUICE's monitoring cameras. The two cameras are designed to watch over the spacecraft as it deploys rather than for scientific purposes, so they capture image at a relatively low resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels. Even so, they managed to get some gorgeous views of the planet as JUICE speeds away from it.

Read more
NASA and Boeing reveal new date for first crewed Starliner flight
A graphic rendering of the Boeing Starliner orbiting Earth.

NASA and Boeing had been hoping to perform the first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft next month, but on Wednesday they announced the mission will now take place no earlier than Friday, July 21.

“While the Starliner spacecraft build is complete, additional time is needed to close out verification and validation work prior to the system’s first flight with crew on board,” Boeing said in a statement posted on its website.

Read more
A crew capsule just landed on Earth. But why was it empty?
The damaged Soyuz MS-22 departs the space station for the voyage home.

Soyuz spacecraft regularly bring crew home from the International Space Station (ISS), but the one that returned on Tuesday had three empty seats.

In what’s thought to be the first voyage of its kind, Soyuz MS-22 undocked from the space station without any crew and took two hours to reach its landing spot in Kazakhstan following an automated, parachute-assisted descent.

Read more