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NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara and crew safely land back on Earth after 6-months space station mission

Astronaut Loral O’Hara and her crewmates have safely returned to Earth after a successful six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Updated on: Apr 08 2024, 07:16 IST
NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and crew safely return to Earth after six-month mission on space station. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and Belarus spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya, have safely returned to Earth following a productive six-month research stint aboard the International Space Station.

Their journey back commenced when they departed the space station aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft at 11:54 p.m. EDT on April 5. After a smooth descent, they made a parachute-assisted landing at 3:17 a.m. on April 6 (12:17 p.m. Kazakhstan time), touching down southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

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Successful Completion of Mission

O’Hara initiated her space venture on September 15, 2023, alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub. The latter two will continue their mission aboard the station for a year. Meanwhile, Novitskiy and Vasilevskaya, along with NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson, departed on Soyuz MS-25 on March 23, with Dyson scheduled to stay aboard until autumn.

During her inaugural spaceflight, O’Hara spent a total of 204 days in space. Novitskiy, a seasoned astronaut with four missions under his belt, has accumulated 545 days in space. Vasilevskaya, on her maiden journey, logged 14 days in space.

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Contributions to Space Exploration

O’Hara’s mission, in support of NASA’s Artemis campaign, was instrumental in advancing preparations for lunar exploration and laying the groundwork for future manned missions to Mars. Her endeavours included approximately 3,264 orbits of Earth and covered a distance exceeding 86.5 million miles. She conducted various scientific experiments aboard the space station, focusing on areas such as heart health, cancer treatments, and space manufacturing techniques.

Following thorough medical examinations post-landing, the crew will proceed to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. From there, O’Hara will board a NASA plane bound for the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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With the departure of the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft carrying O’Hara, Novitskiy, and Vasilevskaya, Expedition 71 officially commenced aboard the station. Expedition 71 comprises NASA astronauts Michael Barratt, Matthew Dominick, Tracy C. Dyson, and Jeannette Epps, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Nikolai Chub, Alexander Grebenkin, and Oleg Kononenko, who will continue their mission until autumn.

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First Published Date: 08 Apr, 07:16 IST