Russian-US space station crew returns to Earth
Read the original news
A Soyuz capsule carrying two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS) landed in Kazakhstan on Friday, Russian space officials said.
US astronaut Joseph Acaba (L) and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka (C) and Sergei Revin pose for picture in front of a mock-up of Soyuz spacecraft during a training session at the Star City space centre outside Moscow April 24, 2012. The three-man team is preparing for a mission to the International Space Station on May 15 Photo: Reuters
The Soyuz TMA-22 parachuted down onto the steppe in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, landing roughly on schedule and on target north of the town of Arkalyk after a three-hour descent from the orbital outpost.
Space officials, technicians and relatives of the crew watching footage on a big screen at Russian Mission Control outside Moscow burst into applause when footage taken from a helicopter showed the capsule touch down.
"We have landing!" lettering on the screen said.
The cramped capsule brought veteran NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank and Russians Anton Skaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin back to Earth after nearly six months aboard the ISS.
Their trip to the station in November was the first since the US space agency NASA ended its 30-year shuttle program, leaving the 16 nations investing in the $100-billion station to rely solely on Russia to ferry crews for the time being.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA's Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers remained aboard the station, where they arrived in December.