Astronauts return to earth
September 16th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Russian craft brings 3 back from space station

Three crew members from the international space station came back to Earth on Friday, touching down in their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

Russian Andrey Borisenko, commander of Expedition 28, and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev, a Russian, and Ron Garan, an American, had spent 162 days working aboard the space station.

News reports said there were some worries in mission control when radio contact with the spacecraft was lost for several minutes after it left Earth's orbit, but the three men were fine when they exited the spacecraft.

"The crew endured the descent and landing normally. The men feel fine; they are in a good mood. The weather in the landing area in Kazakhstan is normal as well," an official spokesman for Rosaviation told the Pravda news agency.

Three airplanes, 14 helicopters and seven rescue vehicles monitored the landing on the Kazakhstan steppe, Pravda reported.

Before departing the space station Thursday, Garan sent a final tweet from space, including a picture of their destination - Earth.

The departure of the trio leaves three others aboard the space station, American Commander Mike Fossum and flight engineers Sergei Volkov of Russia and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan. They've been on the space station since June and are to remain until November 22. American Dan Burbank and Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov are scheduled to join them on the space station on November 16.

Three more crew - NASA's Don Pettit, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Europe's Andre Kuipers - are expected to head to the space station on or about December 26, according to NASA.

Since NASA put the last of its space shuttles into retirement during the summer, future missions will be carried out aboard Russian spacecraft.

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Filed under: Earth • NASA • Space
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Name*eileen

    ahh outer space! Glad they came home safe and sound. i wonder what they think of earth after being up there? does it seem smaller or loud or confining? or is it the most beautiful of planets? I wonder.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. George Patton

    This is good news indeed. The Americans and the Russians need to work together just like back inWW2.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • ToiletBug

      I don't know if you were being serious or facetious. I am 41 and I grew up not during the Kennedy crisis instead I learned about the Monster Soviets of the 70s and 80s. My grandfather told me he remembered how he cried when the wall went up, and then how he cried again when it came down. He fought in WWII and always told me that the whole Soviet US situation was political. He always reminded me that Soviets were people with feelings who loved their children.

      I have worked extensively in the CIS which is known as the Commonwealth of Independent states which are countries who voted to leave the USSR. Each country has their own culture, language so on and do forth, but one thing still binds them and that is their sense of Soviet Brotherhood. I have watched so many old mens faces light up when I switch from speaking Ukrainian, or Armenian to Russian and then you hear their wives start making comments such as, "Here he goes again... or, now you got them all started, I will be up till midnight".

      Russian vs Soviet. Russians were once Soviets, but never stopped being Russian. Russians were always Part of the Soviet Union just as 16 other countries were. Russia is a great country and I am proud of my friendships there and I do hope we become "близки, как братья".

      September 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio )

    " Please Mr. Custer...I don't want to go! "

    September 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta Fraschini

    I was once contracted to NASA as an aerodynamics consultant. The work was very rewarding. I felt great being part of such a great team back in the early 90's. I am now a professional musician and instructor. Being part of an orchestra is so rewarding.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wannaBEmyFriendHuH69

    Madonna did the same thing at her concert. Except the men were not wearing shirts as they carried her around while she sat and sang on her little platform chair thing....Oh i am SOOO sleepy its SO hard to sit up or walk.....YAWN

    September 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leuf

    Communications were lost for 15 minutes, not a few minutes. A few minutes is normal. Nice reporting.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellen Degenirate

    I would like to be the first lesbian in outter space.Just think of it, my ratings would double, I mean everyone loves lesbians, and I might get to check out a black hole , and finally ,I could get to circle Uranus!

    September 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    Those 15 minutes of lost contact was when the alien took hold of the human bodies & integrated so it will look just like a normal person! I've watched enough B&C rated scary alien flicks to know how the story goes! Popcorn, any1??

    September 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Amir

    What's up Don.....................used to be sunday night. I thought he went to vegas or something on a WintonMarsallas look a like tour. (that's a compliment).

    September 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |

    I BET they are gay now.. and stinky..

    September 18, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Used Cisco

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    November 17, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |