NASA has submitted a draft agreement for government approval that would allow Russian cosmonauts to begin flying to the International Space Station on U.S. crew capsules next year in a no-funds exchanged arrangement with Russia’s space agency. In return, Russia will continue launching U.S. and international astronauts on Soyuz missions.
Bill Shepherd, a former Navy SEAL-turned astronaut who arrived at the International Space Station 20 years ago Monday to begin the continuous occupancy of the orbiting research outpost, says the experience gained by NASA and its global partners over the last two decades provides a blueprint for missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
A three-man crew closed out a 196-day expedition in orbit late Wednesday with a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, Soyuz commander Anatoly Ivanishin, and flight engineer Ivan Vagner undocked from the International Space Station at 7:32 p.m. EDT (2332 GMT) Wednesday, and the trio landed at 10:54 p.m. EDT (0254 GMT).