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Soyuz Spacecraft Lands Back On Earth After Spending Over 200 Days Docked On The ISS

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NASA Astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques onboard the International Space Station. The three crew members officially ended their 204-day mission on Monday, June 24.   ( NASA | Twitter )

On Monday, June 24, the Russian MS-11 undocked from the International Space Station to deliver three crew members back to Earth.

End Of Mission

Roscosmos' Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency landed southeast of the town Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan at 10:47 p.m. EDT. Their arrival marks the end of their 204-day mission as part of Expedition 58 and Expedition 59 onboard the orbital laboratory.

Cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch have assumed leadership of the ISS. They will later be joined by three other crew members — Aleksandr Skvortsov of Roscosmos, Drew Morgan from NASA, and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.

Three ISS Crew Members Plunge Back To Earth

The MS-11 undocked from the space station and began their descent back to Earth at 7:25 p.m. EDT. a few hours later, the spacecraft was slowed by braking thrusters and lowered by a parachute on the sunny steppe of Kazakhstan.

"It takes about 3.5 hours between undocking from the space station to landing in Kazakhstan," tweeted McClain last week. "It's been described as a rollec coaster or a washing machine — dynamic, but also a precise and highly choreographed process."

From the ground, the crew members were met by a recovery team, representatives from NASA and CSA, and medical personnel. NASA TV confirmed that all three passengers arrived in good health.

"Gravity isn't my friend," commented Saint-Jacques. "I need to learn to walk again."

Saint-Jacques has set to record for the longest spaceflight by a Canadian. He, together with Kononenko and McClain, arrived at the ISS on Dec. 3, 2018.

As crew members, the three participated in scientific experiments and maintenance duties. McClain and Saint-Jacques performed their second and first spacewalk to run power and network cables. Meanwhile, Kononenko ventured outside of the space station twice during the mission to investigate a pressure leak in the Soyuz MS-09.

After touchdown, the three boarded a Russian helicopter that took them to the town of Karaganda where they were separated and begin their travel back home. McClain and Saint-Jacques were flown to the Johnson Space Center in Houston by a NASA jet.

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