Russian cosmonaut who commanded space station struck pedestrian with car

close-up of russian cosmonaut oleg artemyev in his spacesuit shortly after a landing
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A space station commander who returned to Earth three weeks ago was involved in a traffic accident, according to reports.

International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 67 commander Oleg Artemyev struck a pedestrian "in conditions of limited visibility" on Tuesday (Oct. 18), according to Roscosmos (opens in new tab). (The report was in Russian; translation provided by Google.) The accident occurred outside a pedestrian crossing zone "on a poorly lit road," added Roscosmos, saying that Artemyev was sober, called doctors to the scene and gave first aid.

Roscosmos identified the pedestrian as Anatoly Uronov, who Russian media says was a project manager at training center Star City in Moscow, according to Russian space journalist Anatoly Zak (opens in new tab). The pedestrian is in hospital in the region at Shchyolkovo "with fractures," added Roscosmos, which did not release further details of his condition. Artemyev had just returned to Earth Sept. 29 aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, landing in Kazakhstan with two other cosmonauts following a half-year of science and spacewalks at the ISS.

Related: Russian cosmonaut assumes command of space station ahead of SpaceX's Crew-3 departure

Newly returned spaceflyers typically have a few weeks off from driving amid peer-reviewed research showing that their ability to drive is reduced (opens in new tab)

Raffi Kuyumjian, flight surgeon for Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield during the latter's 2012-13 mission, said in 2013 that a typical space station resident on a six-month mission can resume driving in about three weeks (opens in new tab), depending on medical clearance. Artemyev landed 19 days ago and presumably would have been following his own physician's medical advice before getting behind the wheel.

Artemyev participated in numerous spacewalks during Expedition 66/67, including one Aug. 17 excursion cut short due to problems with his suit. All issues were resolved for the next extravehicular activity, or EVA. He assumed command of the ISS on May 4 and held the position until Sept. 28, managing the entire station's activities from orbit.

Artemyev, whose previous jobs include working in the Soviet Army and with spacecraft manufacturer RSC Energia, has spent more than 560 days in space across three long-duration missions: Expedition 39/40 in 2014, Expedition 55/56 in 2018, and Expedition 66/67 in 2022. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace