Three-man crew blasts off for ISS, leaving behind a coronavirus-stricken planet

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 09, 2020, 02:57 PM(IST)

Space debris creates problems for International Space Station and satellites that are still in use Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Russia's Roscosmos space agency and NASA's Chris Cassidy left the earth at 08:05 GMT from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

A three-man crew successfully blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS), leaving behind a coronavirus-stricken planet. 

Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Russia's Roscosmos space agency and NASA's Chris Cassidy left the earth at 08:05 GMT from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

COVID-19 has caused changes to pre-launch protocol, as the departing crew would not face questions from the press. The crew did, however, respond to emailed questions from journalists in a Wednesday press conference.

Cassidy admitted the crew had been affected by their families not being unable to be in Baikonur for their blastoff to the ISS. "But we understand that the whole world is also impacted by the same crisis," Cassidy told AFP.

The quarantine process for the astronauts began earlier than usual last month as the trio and their reserve crew hunkered down in Russia's Star City training centre outside Moscow.

NASA has not yet confirmed travel plans for Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir, who will be departing the ISS along with Skripochka on April 17.

The ISS typically carries up to six people at a time and has a livable space of 388 cubic metres (13,700 cubic feet) -- quite enviable for people on earth, currently overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Space Station has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.

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