A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying the world’s most experienced space flier and two rookie crewmates returned from the International Space Station on Friday, with a pinpoint parachute landing in Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
The capsule departed the station at EDT/2139 and touched down at EDT/0051 southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
Strapped inside was former station commander Gennady Padalka, 57, returning from his fifth spaceflight with a record 879 days in orbit. The previous record was set by six-time flier Sergei Krikalev, who has a career total 803 days in space.
Joining Padalka for the ride back to Earth were two rookies, Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, both of whom spent less than 10 days in orbit.
“There definitely hasn’t been time to get homesick,” Mogensen, the first Dane in space, told reporters during an inflight press conference on Tuesday. “Time has really, really flown past.”
Mogensen and Aimbetov launched with Padalka’s replacement, veteran cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, aboard another Soyuz capsule on Sept. 2. That flight was originally to have included British soprano and aspiring space tourist Sarah Brightman. Citing family reasons, Brightman stopped training in May and relinquished her seat to Aimbetov.
Volkov remains aboard the station, along with five crewmates, including newly named commander Scott Kelly, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.
Kelly and Kornienko this week passed the halfway point of a planned year-long stay in space, the longest tour of duty in the station’s 15-year history.
“I expected this to not be easy. A year is a long time,” Kelly said. “You have to pace yourself.”
NASA and Russia are using the year-long mission to get better insight into how microgravity affects human physical and mental health, and what countermeasures may mitigate any harmful effects.
In a decade, NASA intends to begin flying astronauts farther beyond the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth. The long-term goal of the U.S. space program is a human expedition to Mars in the 2030s.
(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)
Watch footage of the Soyuz crew leaving the space station, as posted online on Friday, below.
Trump is a ‘human opioid’ who feeds racism to his ‘white identity cult’: author
Democrats will lose the 2020 campaign if they treat it like a typical election and instead need to make a moral issue against President Donald Trump, author Tim Wise explained on MSNBC on Monday.
Wise is the author of the 2004 book White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.
"As Democrats work on their strategy to counter President Trump ahead of the 2020 election. Anti-racism activist Tim Wise -- who helped to defeat David Duke in two campaigns in the 1990s -- provided this advice for Democrats," anchor Chris Matthews said.
He read excerpts of tweets from Wise.
Trump asked right-wing conspiracy theorist congressman to help him pick his next Director of National Intelligence
On Monday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump is consulting with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) about who he should consider to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Nunes has led the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee since 2015 and chaired the committee for four years, despite having no professional qualifications of any kind for that role. Since 2017, he has been known for his stunts and conspiracy theories intended to discredit the Russia investigation and throw suspicion on anyone who looks into Trump's conduct.
Conservative newspaper hilariously trolls Trump about his failure to build any new border wall
The conservative Washington Examiner trolled President Donald Trump for his failure to construct any new border barricade during his 30 months in office.
On Monday, Trump lashed out at the media on Twitter for not giving him positive coverage for his wall, which he erroneously claimed would be paid for by Mexico.
The Examiner replied to Trump on Twitter, posting an article headlined, "Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office."