Astronauts return to Earth on Russian spacecraft

Mar 18, 2010
Astronauts work outside the International Space Station, February 2010. A Russian spacecraft carrying a Russian cosmonaut and a US astronaut back from the ISS has landed in Kazakhstan, mission control in Moscow said

A Russian cosmonaut and a US astronaut returned to Earth on Thursday from the International Space Station (ISS) after 169 days in space, mission control in Moscow said.

"The crew of the Souyz TMA-16 craft is on Earth," it said in a statement, after Jeffrey Williams of the United States and Russia's Maxim Surayev touched down after five-and-a-half months together on the ISS.

At 1125 GMT, the "made a safe landing in the designated area northeast of the town of Arkalyk" in the steppes of Kazakhstan, the mission control said.

"The cosmonauts are feeling well," it added.

"Working in frigid temperatures, Russian recovery teams were on hand at the landing site to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and readjust to gravity," the US agency NASA said in a statement.

NASA said that as members of the Expedition 21 and 22 crews, the two presided over the completion of the US segment of the space station.

The Russian-US duo had been high above Earth for 169 days, blasting off into space on September 30, 2009 and docking with the ISS on October 2, according Russia's mission control.

Until December 1, Surayev and Williams had worked as flight engineers in a crew that also included Belgian Frank De Winne, Canadian Robert Thirsk and Russian Roman Romanenko.

After Winne, Thirsk and Romanenko left, Williams assumed command of the ISS, which had been manned by just two people until three more crew members arrived on December 23.

The three current inhabitants -- Russia's Oleg Kotov, Soichi Noguchi of Japan and US astronaut Timothy Creamer -- will man the ISS until the arrival of a new spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-18, whose launch is planned for April 2.

The ISS, which orbits 350 kilometres (220 miles) above Earth, is a sophisticated platform for scientific experiments, helping test the effects of long-term space travel on humans, a must for any trip to distant Mars.

Explore further: SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ISS astronauts land safely in Kazakhstan

Dec 01, 2009

A space capsule carrying a Belgian, a Canadian and a Russian landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan on Tuesday after the trio spent half a year on the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts to taste 'space sushi'

Dec 03, 2009

US astronaut Timothy Creamer said on Thursday he was impatient to taste "space sushi" courtesy of his Japanese crewmate after they arrive on the International Space Station (ISS) later this month.

ISS prepares for new crew arrival

Mar 20, 2006

The two-man international space station crew repositioned their Soyuz spacecraft Monday to prepare for the arrival of the next ISS crew.

Recommended for you

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

4 hours ago

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

Amazing raw Cassini images from this week

22 hours ago

When Saturn is at its closest to Earth, it's three-quarters of a billion miles away—or more than a billion kilometers! That makes these raw images from the ringed planet all the more remarkable.

Europe launches two navigation satellites

22 hours ago

Two satellites for Europe's rival to GPS were lifted into space on Friday to boost the Galileo constellation to six orbiters of a final 30, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

SpaceX gets 10-year tax exemption for Texas site

23 hours ago

Cameron County commissioners have agreed to waive 10 years of county taxes as part of an agreement bringing the world's first commercial site for orbital rocket launches to the southernmost tip of Texas.

Voyager map details Neptune's strange moon Triton

Aug 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager's historic footage of Triton has been "restored" ...

User comments : 0