Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins climbed into their Soyuz landing craft and undocked from the International Space Station at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday (0134 GMT Saturday). The trio touched down on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. EDT (0456 GMT) to wrap up six months in orbit.
Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut wrapping up a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station readied their Soyuz ferry ship for a fiery plunge back to Earth early Saturday amid preparations in Florida for launch of another station-bound crew Thursday aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Bill Shepherd, a former Navy SEAL-turned astronaut who arrived at the International Space Station 20 years ago Monday to begin the continuous occupancy of the orbiting research outpost, says the experience gained by NASA and its global partners over the last two decades provides a blueprint for missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and veteran NASA astronaut Kate Rubins blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT) Wednesday. The Soyuz crew took off on a three-hour express trip to the International Space Station that culminated in a docking at 4:48 a.m. EDT (0848 GMT).