Zero-gravity shenanigans: Astronauts return from ISS (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The astronauts of the Soyuz TMA-22 got up to some mad micro-gravity antics before their scheduled return to Earth after six months aboard the ISS. Before the ship’s undocking from the station, its crew found time to let their hair down…

The team of six astronauts took advantage of zero-gravity to pose for a tongue-in-cheek photo, three lined up side by side with their compatriots hovering upside-down above them.

NASA was also treated to a live display of aerial acrobatics as astronauts took turns to spin each other in multiple somersaults in the International Space Station’s laboratory.

Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and  Anatoly Ivanishvin, as well as NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank, completed their mission on the space station and departed for Earth at 08:18 GMT.

After separating from the ISS, the Soyuz TMA-22 spent several hours in autonomous flight before entering Earth’s atmosphere.

The vessel touched down some 88 kilometers northeast of Kazakhtan’s Arkalyk village at 12:46 GMT.

The team was scheduled to return to Earth on board the Soyuz TMA-22 on March 16, but the mission was delayed by the launch of the Soyuz-TMA-04M carrying the next ISS expedition.


Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers spins US compatriot Daniel Burbank in a series of somersaults.
Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers spins US compatriot Daniel Burbank in a series of somersaults.
Burbank turns a graceful pirouette.
Burbank turns a graceful pirouette.
… and walks on air.
… and walks on air.