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.
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).
Astronaut Scott Kelly, settling in aboard the International Space Station for a marathon 342-day stay in orbit, said Monday he is looking forward to serving as a test subject for medical research on the long-duration effects of weightlessness, data he said would help pave the way for eventual flights to Mars.
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).