Russian, French astronauts return from space station stint
A Russian cosmonaut and a French astronaut returned to Earth Friday aboard the Russian Soyuz capsule after six months on the International Space Station, while its American crew remained in the orbital lab for an extended stay, revealed a problem television The NASA.
Russians Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet to the European Space Agency, attacked the interior of the spacecraft and left the station at 6:47 a.m. AD (1047 GMT), while the complex sailed 400 miles above the Earth.
They made a southwestern parachute from Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, 10:00 am local time (1410 GMT).
A seat in the capsule was empty because US astronaut Peggy Whitson, who flew to the station with Novitskiy and Pesquet in November, will remain in orbit until September. She filled a vacancy after Russia had reduced its crew size to station two members to three.
“Of course we need Oleg and Thomas, they are outstanding astronauts,” said an emotional Whitson during a ceremony Thursday, where she returned control of the station 100 billion to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.
“Peggy is a legend,” said Pesquet. “We are a little sad to leave behind us, but we know it is in very, very capable hands.”
Whitson, Yurchikhin and astronaut Jack Fischer, also with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will handle the station until a new team launches in late July.
“It’s going to be a bit difficult,” Whitson said during an interview with Reuters on Wednesday. “I was here on my last two expeditions and I was just a crew of three, but it was a much smaller season at that time.”
“However, I think it’s quite feasible,” he said.
Whitson, the station that serves for the third time, broke the US record in April for the time accumulated in space. By the time he returned to Earth in September, he has accumulated more than 660 days in orbit.
Gennady Padalka Russian cosmonaut, with 878 days in orbit, is the most experienced spaceflight in the world.