Three space station crew members — two short timers completing a 10-day flight and a veteran cosmonaut who has logged a world record 879 days aloft over five missions — undocked from the International Space Station and returned to Earth Friday, landing safely on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a problem-free flight.
A workhorse Soyuz booster thundered to life and climbed into a dark Kazakh sky Friday, carrying NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko on a four-orbit voyage to the International Space Station to kick off a marathon 342-day mission, the longest flight ever attempted by an American.
Three space station residents launched Friday from Kazakhstan, kicking off a nearly yearlong expedition to help plan for future voyages to Mars. The crew blasted off on a Soyuz rocket heading for the International Space Station at 1943 GMT (3:43 p.m. EDT). Docking occurred at 0136 GMT (9:36 p.m. EDT).