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: SpaceX mile-high escape test will feature 'Buster' the dummy

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

Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun

May 01, 2015

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into ...

20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

May 01, 2015

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds ...

Giant telescope takes close look at Jupiter's moon Io

May 01, 2015

With the first detailed observations through imaging interferometry of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.