Spaceflight Now

Soyuz capsule returns to Earth
Posted: March 16, 2011

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Parachuting to the frigid landscape of Central Asia on Wednesday, the Soyuz TMA-01M capsule brought American astronaut Scott Kelly and his two Russian crewmates back to Earth after a half-year living aboard the International Space Station. Here's a collection of NASA landing pictures taken by photographer Bill Ingalls, plus some quotes from Kelly's post-flight interview with agency public affairs officer Rob Navias:

Question: What were your thoughts as you undocked and backed away from the International Space Station?

Kelly: Well, you know, I guess I reflected on how much work we did and how much we accomplished, thought that it's such an amazing research facility that we've built, so impressive that as human beings we were able to accomplish something like that. It's a place I'm going to miss.

Question: What was entry like? Your first impressions as they opened the hatch? It looked like a scene out of the North Pole.

Kelly: I've heard so much about how the Soyuz entry is kind of, you know, a little on the rough side. So it was sort of what I expected, which is a series of explosions followed by a car crash. And then when the hatch opened it's just quite refreshing to get that cold air and snow blowing inside the capsule. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls