Russians have offered to take one of the colleagues to the ISS for a short training period, which would play an important role in India's first manned mission to the space.
On Tuesday, the United States extended its commitment to manning and maintaining the International Space Station through 2030, but Russian officials say they may not be ready to cooperate after discovering what they claim is deliberate, human sabotage aboard the ISS.
NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, touched down in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 5:44 p.m. local time (4:44 a.m. PT) today, 61 years after Russians sent their Sputnik satellite into space to kick off the U.S.
Another cosmonaut and astronaut are because of join the space station group this month.
Chawla and six fellow crew members died when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed during re-entry into the atmosphere on February 1, 2003. Feustel has accumulated 61 hours and 48 minutes over nine career spacewalks, and ranks third overall among American astronauts. Artemyev has now spent 366 days in space on his two flights. Gerst assumed command of the station as Feustel prepared to depart.
A crew of three - Roscosmos's Sergei Prokopiev, and U.S. and German astronauts Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst - remains on the ISS.
The hole has since been fixed with tape and sealant, stopping the oxygen break, and authorities said the current group, comprising of three US space explorers, two Russian cosmonauts and one German, were never in any threat.
That suggests the hole was "an isolated issue", NASA said, not one expected to reappear on the next Soyuz, which is scheduled to launch October 11 from Kazakhstan with NASA's Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.
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