An American, a Russian and a Belarusian land after a stay aboard the International Space Station

The Russian and Belarusian cosmonauts spent two weeks in orbit, while the American astronaut returned from a 204-day mission.


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American astronaut Loral O'Hara after landing in Jezkazgan, Kazakhstan, April 6, 2024. (BILL INGALLS / NASA / AFP)

An American NASA astronaut and two Russian and Belarusian cosmonauts landed safely on Earth on Saturday April 6 after a stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), announced the Russian agency Roscosmos.

“Today (Saturday), at 10:17 Moscow time [9h31 à Paris]the descent vehicle of the Soyuz MS-24 manned spacecraft landed near the Kazakh city of Jezkazgan”Roscosmos said in a statement. “The deorbit (of the ship) and its descent to Earth took place normally”specified the Russian space agency.

According to the Roscosmos press release, experienced Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and the first Belarusian cosmonaut in history, Marina Vassilevskaya, “spent 14 days in orbit”, while American astronaut Loral O’Hara returns from a 204-day mission. For Marina Vassilevskaïa and Loral O’Hara, this was the first flight of their careers on the ISS.

Russia’s space sector in difficulty

In a press release released by his services, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko “congratulated the crew of the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft on its successful landing”. Two weeks ago, the takeoff of the Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS, with Marina Vassilevskaïa and Oleg Novitsky on board, was postponed by a few days to March 23.

This postponement represented a new setback for the Russian space sector, which has been struggling for years due to financing problems, corruption scandals and failures such as the loss of the Luna-25 lunar probe in August 2023. Cooperation Russian-Western cooperation in the space field was weighed down by the Russian assault on Ukraine launched in February 2022 and the sanctions that followed. The ISS constitutes one of the rare areas of cooperation still in progress between Moscow and Washington.

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