16 Apr 2020 13:00

U.S. astronaut Cassidy becomes new commander of International Space Station

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) - U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy has succeeded Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka as the commander of the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos said in a statement.

"ISS Expedition 62 is coming to an end. Oleg Skripochka, Andrew Morgan, and Jessica Meir are preparing to return to Earth. In particular, the station's crew underwent rotation last night, and Oleg Skripochka and Christopher Cassidy signed the transition document," the statement said.

Skripochka, Morgan, and Meir are preparing for landing, it said.

The landing capsule of the Soyuz MS-15 manned spaceship is due to land on April 17. A representative of the Cosmonaut Training Center told Interfax earlier that the welcome ceremony will be held in accordance with strict coronavirus precautions. All search party members have been tested for coronavirus and will be wearing protective suits.

Contacts with the crew will be minimized. Skripochka will be placed under observation upon his arrival in Star City. He will have no other contacts but doctors wearing protective clothing.