Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Safe landing as space station trio return to Earth

Russian space boss accuses Elon Musk and Pentagon of dumping conspiracy A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida
Guillermo Lane | 06 October, 2018, 13:59

Station crew members traced the hole to the Soyuz, and quickly patched it inside with gauze and epoxy, after ground teams detected a slight loss of station pressure on August 29.

According to Dmitry Rogozin, who was placed under USA sanctions over the Ukraine crisis in 2014, said he experienced difficulties in collaborating with NASA and other U.S. agencies to solve out the issue of the ISS hole.

Three astronauts, who spent 197 days at the International Space Station, returned to Earth on October 4, as their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft hit the ground safely under an orange and white canopy. Last month, the Russian newspaper "Kommersant" had reported that in an investigation, this possibility was detected that American space travelers had holes deliberately so that a sick colleague could be sent home.

After several months serving as Expedition 56 Commander aboard the ISS, Feustel was scheduled to land back to Earth on Wednesday.

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Early speculation on the cause touched on everything from a puncture caused by space debris to a manufacturing mistake to deliberate sabotage.

ISS astronauts are planning a spacewalk in November to gather more information on the hole.

The ISS is one of the few areas of tight Russia-US cooperation that remains unaffected by the crisis in ties, including after Washington's sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and other crises. The trio will undock Thursday at 3:57 a.m.in their Soyuz MS-08 crew ship leaving behind German astronaut Gerst to begin his command with Expedition 57 Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev. Feustel now has logged more than 226 days in space on three spaceflights, and Arnold spent more than 209 days during the course of two missions.

Since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle in 2011, Russia's Soyuz has offered the only ride for people to and from the station.

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