Wrapping up a busy week on the International Space Station, a crew of three boarded their Soyuz landing craft and headed for Earth on Friday. Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, the most experienced space crewman in history, was at the controls, along with Danish and Kazakh crew members, and landed in Kazakhstan at 8:51 p.m. EDT Friday (0051 GMT Saturday).
A Russian Proton rocket blasted off from Kazakhstan on Friday on a critical launch aiming to complete deployment of a major multibillion-dollar global communications network for London-based Inmarsat. Liftoff occurred at 1144 GMT (7:44 a.m. EDT), but it will take more than 15 hours to put the satellite in the correct orbit.
Three new space station residents blasted off Wednesday on a fast-track six-hour pursuit of the orbiting research complex, kicking off five months in space. The U.S.-Russian-Japanese space crew lifted off at 2102 GMT (5:02 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and docking occurred 0245 GMT (10:45 p.m. EDT).