Astronauts land safely in Kazakhstan after mission

Jun 02, 2010

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Wednesday brought a Russian cosmonaut and US and Japanese astronauts safely back to Earth on the steppe of Kazakhstan after a five-and-a-half month stay in space.

Russian Oleg Kotov, Soichi Noguchi of Japan and US astronaut Timothy Creamer "landed southeast of Kazakhstan's town of Jezkazgan" as they returned from the (ISS), said Russia's Mission Control outside Moscow.

Television pictures showed the capsule carrying the being guided by a parachute and producing a plume of dust as it touched down under clear blue skies.

The trio, still strapped to their seats and covered with blankets, were given apples -- a traditional welcome-back gesture -- as doctors and rescuers swarmed around to conduct regular checks and help adjust them to gravity.

Broadly smiling, the astronauts joined hands with each other and gave thumbs-up signs as they posed for cameras.

"A very good landing. Everyone feels excellent," the chief of Russia's agency Anatoly Perminov told reporters.

"Recently, all the touchdowns have been not just successful but with a high-precision landing and most importantly, excellent health," he said televised remarks.

"You see they are already eating apples," he added, referring to television pictures showing Noguchi happily chewing an apple.

Kotov, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls of the spacecraft when it undocked from the station, NASA said. He will return to Russia's space training centre outside Moscow, while Creamer and Noguchi will go back to Houston, it said.

The trio left Earth in December for a mission to the ISS where they spent five and a half months.

During their stint at the ISS, they supported three space shuttle missions and "put finishing touches on US laboratory research facilities," among other duties, NASA said.

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko and US astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson took over aboard the ISS.

A video posted on the website showed the departing and remaining astronauts shaking hands and hugging each other amid banter and laughs.

"We will be thinking about you guys all day," Dyson said.

"Only one?" a Russian colleague shot back.

"Only one day and that's it," Dyson replied, laughing.

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: Amazing raw Cassini images from this week

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts get go ahead for Good Friday launch

Apr 01, 2010

(AP) -- A NASA astronaut and two Russian colleagues received the thumbs-up Thursday for a mission that will boost the population of the International Space Station to six.

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.

Astronauts dock at International Space Station

Dec 22, 2009

A Russian rocket carrying three astronauts from Japan, Russia and the United States docked at the International Space Station Wednesday, the Russian flight control centre said.

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).

Recommended for you

Amazing raw Cassini images from this week

16 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

16 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

16 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

18 hours ago

(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" ...

How the sun caused an aurora this week

19 hours ago

On the evening of Aug. 20, 2014, the International Space Station was flying past North America when it flew over the dazzling, green blue lights of an aurora. On board, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this ...

User comments : 0