Tension in US-Russia relations touched outer space
On October 4, two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth, completing a 6-month mission on the ISS. The situation seems slightly tense between Washington and Moscow, threatening to escalate into problems of cooperation.
Astronauts Andrew Fustel, Richard Arnold and Oleg Artemyev landed southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan (Kazakhstan). Russian and American officials arrived at the landing, investigating the appearance of a mysterious hole on the Russian spacecraft docked to the orbital station. The hole found in August led to an air leak on the ISS, but it was quickly sealed.
This week, the head of the Russian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, said that they deliberately made a hole and this is not a manufacturing defect. He also hinted at the problems of cooperation between Roscosmos and NASA, caused by the sanctions of America in connection with the situation in Ukraine in 2014.
Terrestrial personnel carry cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev after returning to Earth from a 6-month mission
The crew commander Fustel said that the members of the ISS are embarrassed by speculations about intentional sabotage. NASA also abandons the idea of deliberately drilling the ship. In November, astronauts plan to perform a space walk to collect more data about the hole. The ISS is one of the few areas of close Russian-American cooperation that was still stable, despite Washington’s sanctions and political differences. The cosmonauts said goodbye to the remaining crew members: Alexander Gerst, Serina Aunen-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopiev. The next launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome to the station is scheduled for October 11.
A search and rescue helicopter hovers above the Soyuz space capsule, in which the crew of the ISS returned to Earth after a 6-month mission
The crew smiles upon returning to Earth. Artemyev came out first and said that he would first eat a fruit and vegetable salad. Fustel and Arnold also felt cheerful.
The Soyuz space capsule with the crew of the ISS landed on Earth in Kazakhstan after a 6-month mission
The trip turned out to be especially important for Arnold, who spent 197 days of life at the station. Moreover, Arnold gave lessons that were meant to be obtained from Krista Macolliffe (female astronaut) - one of 7 crew members who died in a fire in the space shuttle accident Challenger in 1986.