Wrapping up a record-setting flight, Peggy Whitson, America’s most experienced astronaut with nearly two years of time in orbit across three missions, returned to Earth Saturday after a 288-day stay aboard the International Space Station, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan with Soyuz MS-04 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Jack Fischer.
A Russian Soyuz crew ferry craft departed the International Space Station and descended to an on-target landing in Kazakhstan on Saturday with a record-setting NASA astronaut, a veteran Russian cosmonaut and a former U.S. Air Force test pilot on-board. Undocking from the orbiting research complex occurred at 2158 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT), with touchdown at 0121 GMT (9:21 p.m. EDT).
Peggy Whitson, America’s most experienced astronaut with nearly two years in orbit over three missions, returns to Earth Saturday after an extended 288-day stay aboard the International Space Station, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan with Soyuz MS-04 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA flight engineer Jack Fischer.
Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, on his fifth trip into space, and rookie NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, a Colorado native, blasted off aboard a Soyuz booster at 0713 GMT (3:13 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading for the International Space Station for a four-and-a-half month expedition. The duo docked with the orbiting outpost at 1318 GMT (9:18 a.m. EDT).
Just 10 days after three space station fliers returned to Earth — and two days after launch of a station-bound supply ship — a veteran four-flight cosmonaut and an enthusiastic NASA rookie were cleared for launch Thursday to boost the lab’s crew up to five — one less than usual because of cost cutting by the Russian space agency.
NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, have agreed to extend astronaut Peggy Whitson’s stay aboard the International Space Station by three months to enable uninterrupted research aboard the orbital laboratory during a period when Russia is temporarily reducing its crew complement, the U.S. space agency said Wednesday.
Russian engineers will replace rocket engines on two Soyuz rockets assigned to send a batch of supplies and the next crew to the International Space Station after an investigation revealed foreign objects or a manufacturing defect led to the crash of a Progress cargo craft on launch in December, according to Russian media reports and a statement from the Russian space agency.