They traveled on the International Space Station.
A Soyuz spacecraft brought two Russian astronauts and an American astronaut to Earth from the International Space Station on Wednesday, a rare example of cooperation between Washington and Moscow amid tensions over Ukraine.
According to images released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the Soyuz MS-19 capsule landed in southeastern Kazakhstan at 11:28 GMT as planned by Russians Anton Skoplerov and Pyotr Duprov and American Mark Vande Hai.
“Soldiers are fine”
Three helicopters immediately landed near the ship to pick up passengers returning from space. After being taken out of the capsule by several men, Anton Choklerov, with a wide smile, raised his thumb to indicate that he was well.
“The low orbit landing and landing went smoothly and the crew was in good health,” Roscosmos said in a statement.
The space agency added that the two Russian astronauts would be flown to a Russian base in the Moscow region on a special flight that would take several weeks to land on Earth.
Astronaut Vande Hey will “depart for Cologne, Germany, on a NASA flight to refuel (the device) before returning home”, the US space agency said in a statement.
The visit comes against the backdrop of strong tensions around Ukraine between Russia and the US-led Western powers, which have called into question a number of projects in the field of space cooperation.
In early March, Roscosmos released a video in which it was jokingly said that Mark Vande could stay on the ISS instead of returning with the Hei Soyuz spacecraft. The Russian company that faced the American concern had to make sure the astronaut was actually on the go.
Mark Vande Hey, 355 days, by an American astronaut, holds the record for the most consecutive days in space. In the midst of tensions, the boss of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, who has been fueling nationalist announcements on social media, confirmed in mid-March that the operation of Russian ships delivering ISS would be affected by Western sanctions against Moscow. Ukraine.
According to him, this could even cause the ISS to “groove or land”. Space cooperation between Russia and the West is one of the few areas that has not been much affected by growing tensions since the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea to Moscow in 2014.
But in recent weeks, a number of cooperation projects have borne the brunt of the crisis surrounding Ukraine. The European Space Agency (ESA) announced in mid-March that it had suspended Russian-European Exomars missions and an alternative search for four other missions due to an attack in Ukraine. For its part, Moscow has suspended the launch of OneWeb satellites, forcing its British operator to return to US company billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX.