NASA astronaut Nick Hague returned to Earth from the International Space Station Thursday, alongside station commander Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The crew landed safely in Kazakhstan at 6:59 a.m. EDT (4:59 p.m. local time).
Hague and Ovchinin launched on March 14, along with fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch, and arrived at the space station just six hours later to begin their 203-day mission, during which they orbited Earth 3,248 times, traveling 86.1 million miles. Koch remains aboard the orbiting laboratory for an extended mission that will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman in preparation for human missions to the Moon and Mars.
For Almansoori this landing completed an eight-day stay on board the station that covered 128 orbits of Earth and 3.1 million miles since launching Sept. 25 with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos. Almansoori made history as he became the first person from the UAE to fly in space his mission as the first astronaut from the UAE.
After post-landing medical checks, Hague will return to Houston, and Ovchinin and Almansoori will return to Star City, Russia.
The Expedition 60 crew contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, including investigations into devices that mimic the structure and function of human organs, free-flying robots, and an instrument to measure Earth’s distribution of carbon dioxide.
Hague conducted three spacewalks during his mission, totaling 19 hours and 56 minutes. Ovchinin conducted one spacewalk lasting 6 hours and 1 minute during his mission.
Hague’s first two spacewalks in March continued the overall upgrade of the station’s power system with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. During his third spacewalk, he and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan successfully installed the second of two international docking adapters that Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft will use to connect to the space station.
Hague completes his second flight in space totaling 203 days, while Ovchinin has now spent 375 days in space during three flights. Hague and Ovchinin flew together on an abbreviated mission in October 2018, cut short by a technical problem that triggered an ascent abort minutes after launch and a safe landing back on Earth.