The crew members of the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft, which undocked on October 21, 2020, at 23:32 UTC from the International Space Station, safely returned to Earth, said the State Space Corporation Roscosmos on 22 October.
All operations on the descent from low-Earth orbit and landing went nominally. Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy are in good health, said the Roscosmos press service.
The 63rd long-term expedition was launched on 9 April 9, 2020, from Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Soyuz MS-16 became the first crewed spacecraft to go into orbit on the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with a crew inside. Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, and Christopher Cassidy spent 196 days in space. The crew conducted dozens of experiments in various fields of science according to the Russian scientific program (medicine, space biology, biotechnology, physical and chemical processes, etc.).
This flight became the third in the career of Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin. His first stay in low-Earth orbit as a flight engineer of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft and a flight engineer of the 29th/30th expedition to the ISS lasted 165 days in 2011-2012. After this flight, Anatoly Ivanishin was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. The second flight lasting 115 days took place in 2016 with Ivanishin acting as the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft commander, ISS-48 flight engineer, and ISS-49 commander. Now the total duration of Anatoly Ivanishin's stay in orbit is more than 476 days.
For Roscosmos cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, this flight as a flight engineer of the Soyuz MS-16 crewed spacecraft and the ISS-63 expedition was his debut. It took him almost 10 years to make his dream come true: on October 12, 2010, by the decision of the Main Interdepartmental Commission, he was recommended for admission to the Energia cosmonaut corps (17th draft). On November 15, Vagner began training as a test cosmonaut candidate at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, qualifying as a test cosmonaut on August 3, 2012. Starting in February 2020, together with Anatoly Ivanishin and Christopher Cassidy, he began training in the ISS-63 prime crew.
Despite his busy work schedule, cosmonaut Ivan Vagner found time to publish unique pictures on his social media pages and videos about life in near-Earth orbit as part of the Ivan Vagner Flight Log project, which brought thousands of people around the globe a little closer to space. The numerous video greetings to the crew on the holidays will also be remembered, and the weekly space quizzes made many reopen the atlas of the World and helped to learn more about our planet.
Currently, the 64th long-term expedition crew consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins continue working onboard the International Space Station. In November, the SpaceX Crew-1 mission is scheduled to launch with astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi joining the current crew.