Monday, July 2, 2012

Space station trio gets down to Earth in Russian capsule

After six months in orbit, U.S.-Russian-Dutch crew lands in Kazakhstan
Mikhail Metzel  /  AFP - Getty Images
Russian space agency rescue team members carry U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit,center, shortly after the landing of the Russian Soyuz TMA-03M space capsule on Sunday.


After half a year living on the International Space Station, three astronauts safely returned to Earth on Sunday aboard a Russian-built space capsule.
The Soyuz spacecraft landed in the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 4:14 a.m. ET, returning NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers to their home planet.

"Everything is good, we feel great," Kononenko radioed Russia's Mission Control Center just before landing.

The spacefliers undocked from the space station several hours earlier in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft to begin the journey home. They landed upright under a blue sky dotted with some white clouds in Kazakhstan, where the local time was Sunday afternoon. Live video tracked the Soyuz's descent at the end of its parachute, right down to the ground.
Read article and view many photos here

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