A Russian Soyuz ferry ship carrying a Russian cosmonaut and two NASA astronauts undocked from the International Space Station early Thursday, flew a lap around the 20-year-old outpost for a photo survey and then plunged back to Earth, making a pinpoint landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to wrap up a 197-day stay in space.
Two U.S. astronauts flanked a veteran Russian cosmonaut Thursday for a ride back to Earth from the International Space Station. The trio undocked from the station in their Soyuz spacecraft at 0757 GMT (3:57 a.m. EDT), beginning a return flight that culminated in a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 1145 GMT (7:45 a.m. EDT).
A cosmonaut and two NASA astronauts finished packing up their Soyuz ferry ship Wednesday and prepared to undock from the International Space Station early Thursday for a fiery descent to touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 197-day mission that included four spacewalks, a full slate of research and an emergency leak repair.
The head of the Russian space agency caused a stir last week when he said a hole drilled through the side of a Soyuz ferry ship docked to the International Space Station was the result of a deliberate act, “either on Earth or in space.” Station commander Drew Feustel said Tuesday it most certainly did not happen in orbit.