Three members aboard a Russian Soyuz space capsule from the International Space Station (one American, one Russian and one German) landed safely in the frozen Kazakhstan steppe after spending 165 days in the Earth’s orbit. This long period of over five months was spent researching in the space and helping maintain the space outpost orbiting the earth.
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“What a ride it has been,” NASA astronaut Reid Weisman wrote on Twitter just before he, Roscosmos cosmonaut Maxim Suraev and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst closed the hatch separating their Russian Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft from their home of 5 1/2 months, the space station, at 4:27 p.m. EST (2127 GMT) Sunday, reported DiscoveryNews.
One of the main areas of their research during this long sojourn was the human health management during space travel involving longer durations.
“The Soyuz crew performed a 4-minute, 41-second engine burn at 10:05 p.m. EST (0305 GMT on Nov. 10), slowing the craft and causing it to fall out of orbit. After re-entering the atmosphere and descending under a parachute, Wiseman, Suraev and Gerst touched down on the frigid steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT; 9:58 a.m. Kazakh local time on Nov. 10), northeast of the remote town of Arkalyk. The capsule landed upright, but wind caught its parachute and pulled the spacecraft onto its side,” the media were told.
As the three of them re-entered the atmosphere of the Earth and started descending using a parachute, it got caught in the wind, pulling the spacecraft to its side. Though the capsule landed in an upright position, their touchdown was delayed due to adverse weather conditions.
As recovery forces arrived at the expected landing site, they assisted the three astronauts exit the space craft.
All three of them had a quick medical examination before they were flown for a welcome ceremony to the Kazakh city of Kustanai. From there, Suraev will fly to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, located outside of Moscow. The other two members will fly to Scotland from where Wiseman will fly to Scotland aboard a NASA jet while Gerst will join the European Space Agency.