Astronauts land back on Earth transformed by pandemic

first_img“Please keep your distance,” one ground crew member could be heard telling another. While the trio’s landing site southeast of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan is the same as for previous crews, the pandemic has forced changes to mission-end protocol.  The crew will not be flying back home via Kazakhstan’s Karaganda airport as usual because it has been shut down, like so many other airports across the world.Instead, Skripochka will fly from the Baikonur cosmodrome used to launch missions to the ISS while the NASA duo will take off in a plane from the steppe city of Kyzlorda after a drive of several hours.”Quite a ride home from @Space_Station today,” Meir tweeted late on Friday.”We’ve returned to a different planet, but it remains a spectacular one.”Prior to departure, Meir said it would be difficult to forego embraces with family and friends as she gets to grips with a new culture of physical distancing on Earth. “I think I will feel more isolated on Earth than here,” reflected Meir, who made history as one half of the first all-women spacewalk along with NASA colleague Christina Koch in October.End to Russian monopoly While the astronauts’ home planet fights the global battle against COVID-19, the ISS is also entering a new era as it prepares to welcome the first crew flown by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company as early as next month.NASA has said that the SpaceX flight taking NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS could launch as early as the second half of May, ending Russia’s near decade-long monopoly on manned missions to the ISS from its Baikonur launchpad.After blasting off from the Kennedy Space Centre, the pair will spend two to three months aboard the orbital lab, interrupting the usual rhythm aboard the ISS, where missions typically last around six months or longer. They will be met by Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos and NASA’s Chris Cassidy, who arrived at the ISS from Baikonur on April 9, the first new crew members to join after the pandemic began. The International Space Station — a rare example of cooperation between Russia and the West — has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.Topics : “TOUCHDOWN! Welcome home, Oleg Skripochka, Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir!” Russia’s Roscosmos space agency wrote on Twitter.  #СоюзМС15Сегодня же Олега Скрипочку доставят спецбортом на аэродром Чкаловский. Предстоящие 3 недели он будет находиться в Комплексе предстартовой подготовки и послеполетной реабилитации космонавтов в Звёздном городке.Больше #фото — https://t.co/IhXYQd2Wgw pic.twitter.com/CRIgOeu4t3— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) April 17, 2020Unusually, NASA and Roscosmos did not show live footage of the trio parachuting down in their Soyuz landing capsule. This was scrapped “due to technical limitations associated with the epidemiologicalsituation,” Roscosmos said.Subsequent footage from the landing site showed recovery crews wearing face masks and rubber gloves as they hauled the crew members out of the Soyuz MS-15 capsule, which was lying on its side.  Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut on Friday made a safe return from the International Space Station to find a “different planet,” transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.  Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka touched down in central Kazakhstan at 0516 GMT in the first returning mission since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March. Morgan had been on the ISS since July last year, while Meir and Skripochka arrived in September.last_img read more

Report: Lakers’ Rajon Rondo defends himself and calls Chris Paul ‘a horrible teammate’

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It’s worth noting that Paul is close friends with LeBron James, and James pulled Paul away from the fracas. When asked about it on Monday, James said there was nothing significant about him appearing to react to protect Paul, only that he was concerned with breaking up the fight as fast as possible.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs The feud between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul has continued into the week, but instead of fists, the two former All-Stars are now exchanging words in the press.Rondo struck Tuesday, telling ESPN that Paul is “a horrible teammate” as he defended his own actions in the melee that wound up with both of them suspended. The NBA suspended Paul for two games and Rondo for three. Brandon Ingram was also suspended for four games, but much of the controversy in the last few days has swirled around Paul and Rondo and their apparently decade-long rivalry.One of the reasons the NBA gave Rondo a longer suspension than Paul (besides throwing the first punch) was that high-resolution video confirmed Paul’s account that Rondo spit on him. The spit provoked Paul to jab a finger in Rondo’s face, leading to the ugly brawl that required a number of other players to split the two men apart.Rondo told ESPN that if he spit, it was not intentional: “I had a mouthpiece in my mouth and I (was) exasperated because I was about to tell him to ‘get the (expletive) out of here.’” Rondo pointed out in the replay that his hands were on his hips, and he was not ready for Paul to retaliate (which he would have been if he meant to spit). Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersHe also went after Paul’s image, saying that the media was quick to side with him after the spat. He cited the famed “secret passage” incident between the Rockets and Clippers as evidence that Paul’s reputation belies his true character.“Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy,” he said in the report. “They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people. Look at what he did last year when he was in L.A.; trying to get to the Clippers’ locker room. They don’t want to believe he’s capable of taunting and igniting an incident.”Multiple reports have unearthed bad blood between the two dating to at least 2009, when they had a minor confrontation after a game (Rondo was on the Celtics; Paul was on the Hornets). There has been media speculation that there might be ties to when Rondo was snubbed from the 2008 Olympic team that Paul won a gold medal with.Rondo didn’t seem to like the rumors that arose. While he remained short in comments at Monday’s shootaround to multiple media members, he subsequently decided to be more expansive.“I was going to let it rest,” he said. “I wasn’t going to say much. But now I have kids, and I teach my kids to speak up for themselves and don’t let the world tell their story.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img read more