NASA Astronaut and Russian Crewmates Return to Earth After Space Station Mission

A space station crew that was the first to launch into orbit during a pandemic returned safely back to Earth on October 22.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner touched down in Kazakhstan shortly before 9 am local time, after departing the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft.

The crew left for the space station on April 9, weeks after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Commander Chris Cassidy handed over control of the space station to Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov during a ceremony on October 20.

NASA said the the crew would undergo post-landing medical checks before returning respectively to Houston, Texas, and Star City, Russia. Credit: Intl. Space Station via Storyful