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18 Mar, 2010 08:20

Back home from orbit

Russian cosmonaut Maksim Suraev and NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams have returned to Earth after almost six months on the International Space Station.

The journey took some three hours, after which the Soyuz capsule landed in Kazakhstan right on target, some 50 kilometers away from the city of Arkalyk in the north of the country.

Rescuers and doctors had been waiting at the scene of the expected landing spot for about four hours. Yet it took them just a few minutes to locate the module once it touched down, after which they helped the passengers out.

The doctors confirmed that the two men are in good condition. Both are being transported to Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center in the Moscow region to start a rehabilitation programme.

Three astronauts are staying at the ISS – commander Oleg Kotov and engineers Soichi Noguchi and Timothy Creamer.

They have been working in orbit since December and are scheduled to leave in May.

Maksim Suraev has a blog on RT’s website, and hopefully he will be updating it after he returns to describe his experiences in space.

Also, this Thursday marks 45 years since the first-ever spacewalk when Soviet cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov spent around 12 minutes in open space 500 kilometers above the Earth.