An American and two Russian astronauts landed on Earth this week on board of a Soyuz space capsule after living and working for six months at the International Space Station. NASA Expedition 42 included a series scientific trials and spacewalks to set the scene for future ISS visits by the US commercial spacecrafts.
Yelena Serova who is also the first female Russian space traveler to have been on the ISS, returned together with Alexander Samokutyaev and Barry Wilmore to an icy Kazakhstan just after day break.
NASA reporter Rob Navias on the US space organization’s live show covering the landing said:
“The Expedition 42 crew is back on Earth. They have landed in a vertical position, upright.”
Navias was quoting Russian search and rescue authorities which usually go out to get the returning space travelers after they land on the isolated steppe southeast of Dzhezkazgan.
Russia’s space office Roscosmos likewise reported that the team had successfully came back to Earth. The agency’s announcement read:
The piloted descent craft completed its landing at 05:14 Moscow Time (0214 GMT).”
The three astronauts left Earth last fall, on September 26. They lived for 167 days in space and voyaged more than 70 million miles during that time period, NASA reported. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is also in charge of the space industry, noted that the group had been picked up and were all healthy.
His Twitter post said:
“Everything is in order. The crew has been retrieved from the capsule. They’re feeling good. Serova is best off in terms of blood pressure.”
TV footage depicted the smiling trio being taken out of the spacecraft by a rescue team and stacked into vehicles holding up, covered in warm blankets. The following crew dispatches from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on March 27, Roscosmos announced. The cosmonauts on board will be US space traveler Scott Kelly and Russian astronauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka.
Kelly and Kornienko will be stationed at the research space facility for a whole year and not the standard six months, gathering important biomedical information that will aid future profound space, long-term missions, according to NASA.
In the mean time, three crew astronauts, Russian Anton Shkaplerov, Italian Samantha Cristoforetti and American Terry Virts—remain stationed on the space outpost.
A month ago, Russia reported that it will keep using the International Space Station in collaboration with NASA until 2024. NASA had previously said the ISS will stay operational until 2024 but Moscow had threatened to get out of the venture and quit funding it it by 2020.
Image Source: NASA