Crew of Soyuz MS-15 return safely to Earth
1:16 am EST Soyuz MS-15 capsule carrying two astronauts and one cosmonaut landed safely on the Kazakh Steppe.
Photo credit: Nasa/GCTC/Adrey Shelepin
Astronauts Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir, and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka end their space journey April 17th with a safe return to Earth. Morgan, Spending 272 days in space, while Both Meir, and Skripochka logged 205 days making the two Americans added to the top 10 list of total days in space by American astronauts.
The three were met by Russian recovery teams and NASA medical officers who assisted each out of the spacecraft and initiated health checks. Seated in chairs just outside the vehicle all three appeared to be in good spirits. Long duration space flights are known to weaken astronauts' immune systems so extra precautions were taken to limit the crew's exposure of the Covid-19 virus. All NASA and Roscosmos staff tending the three wore face masks and the other works to the site appeared to be following social distancing practices.
Astronaut Andrew Morgan had this to say, "Our landing date corresponds with the landing day of Apollo 13 and now, once again there is a crisis, but the crisis is on Earth.
Instead of being flown from the landing site to the Kazakh town of Karaganda for a traditonal welcome ceremony, Morgan, Meir, and Skripochka were taken directly to Baikonur, their launch site as added precaution to protect from the virus. From there Morgan, and meir will board a NASA plane for a flight back to Houston, Texas. Skrpochka will board a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to his home in Star City, outside of Moscow, Russia.
Photo credit: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin
While in orbit, Morgan, Meir, and Skripochka aided in conducting hundres of science experiments and saw the arrival of multiple uncrewed supply vehicles, including the last of the Dragon 1 cargo spacecraft. During their stay Morgan, and Meir also conducted numerous spacewalks. Morgan totaling 7 adding up 45hrs and 48 minutes in an EVA (Extra Vehicular Activities.), and Meir totaling 3 EVA's with 21hrs and 44 minutes outside the space station
Jessica Meir also made history with Astronaut Christina Koch, as they performed the first ever all female EVA.
This was Morgan's first Spaceflight and during his journey he logged a total of 115.3 million miles of the course of 4,352 orbits around Earth. For Meir this was also her first spaceflight and it was the third for Skripochka. Both totaling 86.9 million miles and 3,289 orbits of the Earth, and giving Skripochka a total of 536 days in space. Soyuz MS-15 was the 61st Soyuz to launch for the ISS.