Soyuz spacecraft lands safely in Kazakhstan

Jul 01, 2012 by PETER LEONARD
Support and medical personnel carry Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Russia, foreground, and Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency, center, and Don Pettit of NASA, background, to the medical tent shortly after they landed in their Soyuz TMA-03M capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, July 1, 2012. Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers returned from more than six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 30 and 31 crews. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

A Soyuz space capsule carrying a three-man multinational crew touched down safely Sunday on the southern steppes of Kazakhstan, bringing an end to their 193-day mission to the International Space Station.

Around a dozen recovery helicopters zeroed into the vast uncultivated , where astronaut Donald Pettit, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Dutchman landed in the Russian-made capsule.

A Russian Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule lands about 150 kms south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Sunday, July 1, 2012. The Soyuz capsule, which carried U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Netherlands' astronaut Andre Kuipers safely returned to Earth on Sunday after a half-year stint on the international space station, with a landing on the Kazakh steppe. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, pool)

Russian space officials quickly surrounded the craft, which performed a perfect upright textbook landing, and erected ladders to begin the process of pulling out the astronauts.

The voyage from the started 3 -1/2 hours earlier, when it undocked and began a slow, gentle drift away. It made a perfect landing in the still and summery weather at 2:14 pm local time (08:17 GMT), right on schedule.

A Russian Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule lands about 150 kms south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Sunday, July 1, 2012. The Soyuz capsule, which carried U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Netherlands' astronaut Andre Kuipers safely returned to Earth on Sunday after a half-year stint on the international space station, with a landing on the Kazakh steppe. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, pool)

Commenting on the landing, NASA TV reporter Rob Navias described it as "a bullseye."

Kononenko was the first to be extracted from the descent module. He looked pale and tired, but medical staff announced him healthy. Pettit, second out of the module, was heard to say: "It's good to be home."

The three men were hoisted into recliners and posed for photos for a number of minutes before being carried into a tent for further checks.

A Russian Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule lands about 150 kms south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Sunday, July 1, 2012. The Soyuz capsule, which carried U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Netherlands' astronaut Andre Kuipers safely returned to Earth on Sunday after a half-year stint on the international space station, with a landing on the Kazakh steppe. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, pool)

Writing on his NASA blog on the eve of his departure from the space station, Petit write: "I only hope that my small efforts here, perhaps adding one grain of sand to the beach of knowledge, will help enable a generation of people in the future to call space 'home.'"

Petit and his colleagues were part of the team that handled the arrival to the space station last month of the privately owned SpaceX Dragon capsule. That became the first private delivery to the .

The retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet has left Russia's venerable as the only means to deliver crews to the orbiting laboratory.

This image provided by NASA-TV shows the Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule carrying NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Dutchman Andre Kuipers undocking from the International Space Station early Sunday morning July 1, 2012. The Soyuz capsule touched down on the southern steppes of Kazakhstan, bringing an end to their 193-day mission to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/NASA)

This image provided by NASA-TV shows the Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule carrying NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Dutchman Andre Kuipers undocking from the International Space Station early Sunday morning July 1, 2012. The Soyuz capsule touched down on the southern steppes of Kazakhstan, bringing an end to their 193-day mission to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/NASA)

Russians Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and U.S. astronaut Joseph Acaba are expected to remain onboard the orbiting space station for a further three months.

They will be joined later this month by NASA astronaut Suni Williams, Russia's Yury Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide, who are set to take off on a Soyuz spaceship from the Baikonur cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan.

Explore further: An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

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User comments : 7

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Russkiycremepuff
1.6 / 5 (8) Jul 01, 2012
Yes, our superior Russian technology again has provided the way for the safe return of the cosmonauts. As the Americans say, We are the Champions.
SiberskiyaGaluboy
1.2 / 5 (6) Jul 01, 2012
It was a great day, Comrade. Our President and our people are very proud of our accomplishments. The NASA and the ESA will depend on our help for a very long time, I am sure. The Americans are in so much trouble that they do not know what to do next. Their government and their corporations are corrupt, and their President is a weakling. I am not sorry to say that I laugh at their plight.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2012
Dogspeedonya comrades I see yall enjoy posting in the middle of the night? Is this the only time your glorious internetzskiye works? Or perhaps you are really in atlanta?
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (5) Jul 01, 2012
It was a great day, Comrade. Our President and our people are very proud of our accomplishments. The NASA and the ESA will depend on our help for a very long time, I am sure. The Americans are in so much trouble that they do not know what to do next. Their government and their corporations are corrupt, and their President is a weakling. I am not sorry to say that I laugh at their plight.

If you just dub a thick Russian accent over the above, it's one of the funniest posts physorg has ever seen.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (5) Jul 01, 2012
And as a postscript, I sincerely believe that Americans were denied the truth in the retelling of the history of World War II- Russia's all-out sacrifice made by its armed forces was the primary reason for Hitler's defeat. Another thing, space exploration may be the only positive activity that nations have to work on cooperatively. If it were made a priority (after feeding their citizens), by many nations, it might even prevent world war.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jul 02, 2012
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

15.827 trillion and counting.

"it's one of the funniest posts physorg has ever seen." - Telekinetic

"I sincerely believe that Americans were denied the truth in the retelling of the history of World War II- Russia's all-out sacrifice made by its armed forces was the primary reason for Hitler's defeat.' - telekenetic

Correct.
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012

If you just dub a thick Russian accent over the above, it's one of the funniest posts physorg has ever seen.


and make sure to end each sentence with "dirty capitalist pigs"

Anyhow, good to see the guys arrived home safely. O Proud of our 2nd guy in space (Kuipers), I wonder if he managed to finish the 10Kg of cheese he brought along.

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