Soyuz spacecraft returns to Earth

Soyuz spacecraft returns to Earth

Just after sunrise on Sunday (1:21 UTC), NASA astronaut and biochemist Peggy Whitson, 57, returned to Earth in Kazakhstan, in a Soyuz capsule, after a 288-day mission in the International Space Station (ISS), bringing her lifetime total days in space to 665, the most for any USA astronaut, most for any female astronaut internationally, and eighth overall. The landing marked the first time since November 26, 2010, that two NASA astronauts returned to Earth in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He logged 673 days over five missions.

The spacecraft, returning from the International Space Station (ISS), landed in Kazakhstan on Sunday.

Whitson, a biochemist, set a breakneck pace on all three of her space station expeditions. They will be joined by two Americans and a Russian following liftoff from Kazakhstan on September 12.

Fischer returned after 136 days away. In an interview with the Associated Press released on Friday, she talked about how she will miss the freedom of floating in space and working in a magnificent structure which is traveling so fast and needs so much detail. During her expeditions, she continually asked for more scientific research to do. On his first mission to the ISS in 2007, he flew on the space shuttle.

While Whitson and Fischer recover and debrief ground crew about details such as which fix policies or tools worked best in space, just three crew members will run the ISS until September 12 when three additional crew members will arrive.

Whitson aboard the ISS in 2002.



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