KOROLIOV, RUSSIA (Sputnik) – Three crewmen from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft MS-09 returned to the ground.
"Landing completed," said Flight Control Center screen outside of Moscow as soon as recyclable capsules landed in a steppe in Kazakhstan.
The return of three crewmen – the German Alexander Herst (ESA), the US Serena Auñón Chancellor (NASA) and the Russian Serguéi Prokópiev (Roscosmos) – were greeted with applause at the center, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
More than 200 technicians equipped with 13 helicopters, two aircraft and one point of auxiliary gear were deployed in the landing area, about 147 kilometers southeast of Zhezkasgan, to locate the astronauts, remove them from the capsule, make the first revisions and move them to the base.
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Among other things, the ship's crew gets several tests on the ground to help the engineers clarify the origin of a hole that caused air leakage in the Russian Space International Space Station (ISS) on August 30. .
The hole was drilled in the wall of Soyuz MS-09, docked to the orbital station in June and sealed with patches.
An internal commission created by the Russian space technology company Energia (manufacturer of the ship) excludes manufacturing defects as a possible cause of the hole.
On December 11, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Prokópiev, working at ISS, made a spacecourse to investigate Soyuz's outer surface.
The cosmonauts cut two protection classes against micrometorites, sampled the substance used to seal the hole and stored it in a container that returned to Earth on Thursday.
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The investigation of the case is conducted by the Russian space company Roscosmos.
Soyuz spacecraft also provides samples of human cartilage and thyroid carcinoma produced in the Russian segment of ISS with a 3D biological printer in mid October.
There are currently three crew members on board: Russian Oleg Kononenko, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and American Anne Charlotte McClain.