Back on Earth: four astronauts return from the International Space Station after a 6-month mission

Steph Deschamps / March 12, 2024

A crew of four astronauts, including one Russian, left the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday to return to the USA after a mission of around six months in orbit.
 
The crew had joined the ISS at the end of August aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule for a routine Nasa mission named "Crew-7".  The mission, led by American astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, included Denmark's Andreas Mogensen, Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borissov. In a farewell speech on Sunday, Jasmin Moghbeli, on his first mission in space, praised the international cooperation that enabled the ISS to be set up after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. "This is proof of what can be achieved when we work together," she said.
 
Despite diplomatic tensions between Washington and Moscow since the start of the war in Ukraine, collaboration between the American and Russian space agencies continues on the ISS - one of the few remaining areas of cooperation between the two countries.
 
The four astronauts are expected at sea, off the coast of Florida, on Tuesday morning from 09:35 GMT. During the six months they spent in space, the crew carried out scientific work, studying, for example, how microgravity, which accelerates aging, affects liver regeneration.
 
This is the seventh regular crew rotation mission conducted by SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk's company, for Nasa. "Crew-8, which took over from SpaceX, arrived at the ISS on March 5.
 
NASA pays SpaceX for this service, which has reduced dependence on Russia to fly crews to the International Space Station since the US space shuttle ceased flights in 2011.
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