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I was nervous and crying: Mum of astronaut

The mother of the first Malaysian astronaut has shared her agony about her son's unexpected landing with RT. Russia's Soyuz space capsule eventually landed safely, despite drifting 340km off course during its descent.

A small technical glitch caused the wayward landing. All three crew members were unharmed, and were quickly taken to an aerodrome in the Moscow region.

It took just three hours for Russians, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, as well as Malaysia's first cosmonaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, to return from the International Space Station.

Back to Earth – and to loved ones

A surgeon and part-time model, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is getting a lot of attention.

“It was spectacular! When I looked out the window and saw Earth for the first time, my heart stopped beating, my eyes stopped blinking. It was amazing!” he confessed.

Zuraida Muszaphar Shukor said she felt relieved and happy.

“Of course, I was nervous, and I was also crying, praying that everything will go well. And it ends all well!” she said to journalists.

Another cosmonaut, Oleg Kotov, said he was sad to leave the ISS.

“However, the wish to see your loved ones who are waiting on Earth is always stronger,” he added.

The three men will now undergo a period of adaptation, medical check-ups and a time of rest after which they will share results of their work on the ISS.

Rough landing

Not everything went as smoothly as planned on the return journey for Soyuz.

Minutes before landing Mission Control discovered the spacecraft was off course and wouldn't reach its planned landing site close to the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Helicopters scrambled to guide them in to safety from another location 300 kilometres away.

Russian mission control described the problem as a technical glitch. However, they say the matter is being investigated.

“It was a ballistic landing, it was a regular variant and there was nothing new to it,” Anatoly Perminov, head of the Federal Space Agency, said.