Soyuz Trio with NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy Return Safely to Earth

The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew members Chris Cassidy of NASA, and Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, Thursday, October 22, 2020, Kazakh time (Oct. 21 Eastern time). Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner returned after 196 days in space having served as Expedition 62-63 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Denis Derevtsov)

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –   A Soyuz trio including veteran NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy returned safely to Earth after living and working in Earth’s orbit for 196 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS) making a soft touchdown in Kazakhstan late Wednesday.

The Russian American trio of spaceflyers comprising Expedition 63 cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA’s Cassidy boarded their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft after a farewell ceremony with the recently arrived trio of Expedition 64,  closed the hatches and departed the ISS at 7:32 p.m. EDT Wednesday Oct. 21, and landed just south of the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, three and a half hours later at 10:54 p.m. EDT (8:54 a.m. Kazakhstan time).

“Touchdown!!! The Exp 63 crew, with @Astro_SEAL, @ivan_mks63 and Anatoly Ivanishin, has returned to Earth landing safely in Kazakhstan at 10:54pm ET,” NASA tweeted.

They underwent preliminary medical checks at the landing site by the Russian recovery forces and then split up to return home.

Russian Search and Rescue teams arrive at the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft shortly after it landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew members Chris Cassidy of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, Thursday, October 22, 2020, Kazakh time (Oct. 21 Eastern time). Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner returned after 196 days in space having served as Expedition 62-63 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Denis Derevtsov)

 

“Exp 63 crewmates @Astro_SEAL, Anatoly Ivanishin and @Ivan_MKS63 are back on Earth after 196 days conducting research on the station,” NASA tweeted.

Three time NASA astronaut Cassidy boarded a NASA plane back to Houston, while Vagner and Ivanishin will flew home to Star City, Russia.

When Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner departed the space station Expedition 64 officially began on station, with Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov serving as station commander and NASA’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos’ Sergey Kud-Sverchkov serving as flight engineers.

Expedition 63 crewmates (from left) Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are seated inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship moments before the hatches were closed to the International Space Station. The trio would parachute to Earth inside the Soyuz’ descent module several hours later. Credit: NASA

Expeditions 63 and 64 spent a  joint stay together for 1 week.

Rubins’ made history during her first spaceflight in 2016 when she became the first person to sequence DNA in space.

Ryzhikov becomes ISS commander now with the start of Expedition 64 with a reduced crew of three for a few weeks.

Expedition 63 NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is seen outside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft after he landed with Roscosmos cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, October 22, 2020, Kazakh time (Oct. 21 Eastern time). Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner returned after 196 days in space having served as Expedition 62-63 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Denis Derevtsov)

The resident station crew will rise again to a  first time crew enlarged of seven sometime as soon as mid-November following the launch of the NASA contracted SpaceX Crew-1 Crew Dragon mission on a Falcon 9 rocket carrying an international crew of four to the ISS from the Kennedy Space Center.

Further details from NASA:

During this latest mission, Cassidy served as commander of Expedition 63 and welcomed SpaceX Demo-2 crew members  Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley of NASA – the first astronauts to launch to the space station on an American spacecraft from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Cassidy and Behnken completed four spacewalks, totaling 23 hours and 37 minutes, to upgrade station batteries. The final spacewalk was the 10th for both astronauts, making them two of only four only U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. Cassidy now has spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts.

While on station, he contributed to hundreds of experiments, including a study of the influence of gravity on electrolytic gas evolution, which looks at bubbles created using electrolysis. Gravity is a key factor in creating buoyancy for bubbles, so microgravity makes it possible to single out bubble growth and study its effect in processes. Using this method to better understand how bubbles grow could improve devices like medicine delivery through small, bandage-like skin patches.

Cassidy also worked with Astrobee, cube-shaped, free-flying robots that may one day assist astronauts with routine duties, and conducted research for the Onco-Selectors experiment, which leverages microgravity to identify targeted cancer therapies.

When Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner departed the space station, Expedition 64 officially began on station, with Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov serving as station commander and NASA’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos’ Sergey Kud-Sverchkov serving as flight engineers.

In November, the Expedition 64 crew is scheduled to welcome NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 – NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Crew-1 will be the first long-duration mission to fly as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and mark the return of America’s capability to regularly launch astronauts from U.S. soil.

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The Soyuz MS-16 crew ship, with Expedition 63 crewmates Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, departs the International Space Station moments after undocking from the Rassvet module. The trio would parachute to Earth inside the Soyuz’ descent module just a few hours later. Credit: NASA

Watch my commentary about upcoming SpaceX Crew-1 mission in November and NASA Space Launch System updates at WESH 2 NBC News and WFTV Ch 9 ABC News Orlando on Oct 13/14:

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/sls-rocket-still-track-2021-launch-moon/IBLXVB32ZNGI3K5G2TJNC4EEX4/

https://www.wesh.com/article/delayed-astronaut-launch-means-for-space-coast/34363108

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about ISS,  Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew members Chris Cassidy of NASA, and Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, Thursday, October 22, 2020, Kazakh time (Oct. 21 Eastern time). Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner returned after 196 days in space having served as Expedition 62-63 crew members onboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Denis Derevtsov)

 

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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