NASA astronauts Jessica Meir, Andrew Morgan and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka have returned from space to a Coronavirus plagued world.
When NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan began their missions to space more than 6 months ago, nobody had ever heard of Coronavirus COVID-19 — now they’re back, and a whole lot has changed.
Andrew Morgan completed an extended 272-day mission on Friday (April 17), touching down on Russia’s Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, who each logged 205 days on the space station. Descending under a parachute to the steppe of Kazakhstan, the capsule touched down on its side at 1:16:43 a.m. EDT (0516 GMT or 11:16 a.m. local Kazakh time), southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan.
Morgan, Meir and Skripochka were met by Russian recovery forces and NASA medical officers who assisted them out of the spacecraft and administered initial health checks. Seated in chairs just outside of their spacecraft, the crewmates looked to be in good spirits, as broadcast live by Roscosmos from the landing site.
“Our landing date corresponds with the landing day of Apollo 13 and now, once again, there is a crisis, [but] the crisis is on Earth,” Morgan told reporters a week before coming home, referencing the 1970 problem-plagued moon mission and the current pandemic.
“I think I will feel even more isolated on Earth than I did here [on the station],” said Meir during the same in-flight press conference on April 10. “It certainly will be very difficult for me to not be able to give some hugs to my family and friends. That is something, after being up here for seven months and being the type of person I am, it is going to be difficult for me not to do… but I know that will be part of the game for awhile.”