Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kelly And Crew Land Safely In Kazakhstan

An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are back on terra firma today after a high-flying departure from the International Space Station.

U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and two cosmonaut colleagues -- Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka -- touched down on a snow-swept steppe in central Kazakhstan at 3:54 a.m. -- 51 minutes after a rocket thruster firing that dropped their Soyuz spacecraft out of orbit and on course for landing 50 miles north of the city of Arkalyk.

Rescue forces in eight helicopters were on hand to recover the Soyuz capsule. Flight surgeons will set up an inflatable medical tent.

Conditions are wintery. Temperatures are in the teens. Sustained winds are 11 to 15 knots with gusts to 30 knots and skies are mostly cloudy.

The return of Kelly and his crewmates ends the 26th expedition to the International Space Station, which has been staffed around the clock since the first crew opened the outpost for business in November 2000.

Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka spent 157 days on the International Space Station and 159 days in space.

No comments: