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NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy lands safely after six-month space trip

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, together with Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, has returned safely to Earth following a six-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soyuz capsule carrying the crew landed on Kazakhstan soil at 8:54 a.m. local time (7:54 p.m PT), about 3 1/2 hours after undocking from the ISS.

Welcome home @Astro_SEAL! ????

One of our @NASA_Astronauts Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have safely landed in Kazakhstan at 10:54pm ET after spending 196 days in space:

— NASA (@NASA) October 22, 2020

The crew members were met by personnel on the ground, who carried them from the capsule for immediate health checks at the landing site. Live video from the site showed a smiling Cassidy chatting with those around him. Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Ivan Vagner rested in chairs during the checks, their bodies a little weaker than usual after staying in microgravity conditions for the last six months.

Next, they’ll be flown 40 minutes by helicopter to aircraft that will take them back to their respective countries.

Finally home ????@Astro_SEAL and his crewmates are all smiles after having exited the Soyuz spacecraft. They will be on their way home soon, having completed their mission aboard the @Space_Station:

— NASA (@NASA) October 22, 2020

Departing Earth in April 2020, Cassidy and his two Russian colleagues spent a total of 196 days on the space station, completing 3,136 orbits and traveling just over 83 million miles.

During his time aboard the space station, Cassidy conducted a range of scientific experiments, carried out essential maintenance on the exterior of the ISS during four spacewalks, and welcomed fellow NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station after the debut astronaut flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The American astronaut also witnessed some powerful storms from the safety of the station 250 miles above Earth, helped to search for an air leak on the station, and installed a brand-new space toilet on the station.

This was Cassidy’s third flight, bringing his total number of spent in space to 378, putting him in the fifth spot on NASA’s list of most experienced astronauts.

Cassidy will shortly be on his way back to Houston, on a flight that will take longer than his trip home from the space station.

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Trevor Mogg
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