Expedition 33 crew returns to Earth
Monday, November 19, 2012
Three astronauts return to Earth today, after touching down safely in Kazakhstan aboard their capsule in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning. The landing marks the culmination of a 127 day mission to the international space station, and only the fourth time a Soyuz capsule has landed at night in its missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
Astronauts, , and were carried to reclining chairs to help them re-acclimate to gravity after being extracted from the sideways capsule by Russian recovery forces. The astronauts bundled up in their recliners as air temperature at the site hit -11°C (12°F).
The group started their trip to the ISS on July 15 launching from thein Kazakhstan. In their four and a half month stay on the station they completed a variety of different studies including the effects of microgravity on the human spine and studying melting glaciers. They also were aboard to receive the first commercial shipment made by SpaceX's Dragon cargo resupply mission.
"It was a beautiful departure. It was just beautiful to watch the ship fly away," said Kevin Ford, now the current commander of the ISS. Ford was passed command of the ISS after in a change of command ceremony on Saturday. During the ceremony Williams remarked, "I think we've left the ship in good shape and I'm honored to hand it over to Kevin."
- William Harwood. "Soyuz brings three station fliers home after 127 days aloft" — , November 18, 2012
- Tariq Malik. "Soyuz Spacecraft Makes Rare Night Landing with Station Crew" — , November 18, 2012
- Tariq Malik. "Space Station Astronauts Headed Back to Earth Tonight" — , November 18, 2012
- "UPDATE 1-Soyuz with crew of three lands in Kazakhstan" — , November 18, 2012
- Peter Leonard. "Astronauts touch down in chilly Kazakhstan steppe" — , November 18, 2012