Three-man crew returns from International Space Station

The trio’s departure has reduced to just three the crew of the International Space Station. (Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017

Three-man crew returns from International Space Station

A capsule carrying US, Russian and Italian astronauts from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a five-month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed.
The spacecraft brought back Randy Bresnik from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sergey Ryazanskiy from Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Italy’s Paolo Nespoli with the European Space Agency.
The capsule landed in the windswept and snow-covered steppe in Kazakhstan’s central Karaganda region at 2.37pm.
Smiling Ryazanskiy was the first to emerge from the capsule’s hatch, assisted by rescue workers.
The trio’s departure has reduced to just three the crew of the ISS, a $100 billion lab that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
On December 17, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishege Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, also in Kazakhstan, to join the ISS crew.


NASA finds Indian moon lander with help of amateur space enthusiast

Updated 03 December 2019

NASA finds Indian moon lander with help of amateur space enthusiast

  • NASA released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact
  • A version of the picture was marked up to show the associated debris field

WASHINGTON: India’s Vikram lunar lander, which crashed on its final approach to the Moon’s surface in September, has been found thanks in part to the sleuthing efforts of an amateur space enthusiast.
NASA made the announcement on Monday, releasing an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact (September 7 in India and September 6 in the US).
A version of the picture was marked up to show the associated debris field, with parts scattered over almost two dozen locations spanning several kilometers.
In a statement, NASA said it released a mosaic image of the site on September 26 (but taken on September 17), inviting the public to compare it with images of the same area before the crash to find signs of the lander.
The first person to come up with a positive identification was Shanmuga “Shan” Subramanian, a 33-year-old IT professional from Chennai, who said that NASA’s inability to find the lander on its own had sparked his interest.
“I had side-by-side comparison of those two images on two of my laptops ... on one side there was the old image, and another side there was the new image released by NASA,” he said, adding he was helped by fellow Twitter and Reddit users.
“It was quite hard, but (I) spent some effort,” said the self-professed space nerd, finally announcing his discovery on Twitter on October 3.
NASA then performed additional searches in the area and officially announced the finding almost two months later.
“NASA has to be 100% sure before they can go public, and that’s the reason they waited to confirm it, and even I would have done the same,” said Subramanian.
Blasting off in July, emerging Asian giant India had hoped with its Chandrayaan-2 (“Moon Vehicle 2“) mission to become just the fourth country after the United States, Russia and regional rival China to make a successful Moon landing, and the first on the lunar south pole.
The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the Moon, dropped the unmanned lander Vikram for a descent that would take five days, but the probe went silent just 2.1 kilometers above the surface.
Days after the failed landing, the Indian Space Research Organization said it had located the lander, but hadn’t been able to establish communication.