A Soyuz capsule carrying astronaut Joe Acaba and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin landed safely in Kazakhstan Sunday night Eastern Time.
The international crew’s successful landing concluded a 123-day mission aboard the international space station, which included the landmark docking of a commercial craft, the SpaceX Dragon capsule, with the space station.
The capsule touched down lightly, rolling on to its side. Shortly thereafter the three travelers were retrieved, with capsule pilot, Padalka, being retrieved first. Padalka has spent a total of 711 days in space over the course of his career, with his first mission occurring in 1998, when he commanded Expedition 26 aboard the Russia’s Mir space station. This is Acaba’s second mission and Revin’s first spaceflight, according to Space.com’s Mike Wall. Upon being retrieved Acaba reportedly gave the thumbs-up sign, telling those assembled, “It’s good to be home.”
The Expedition 33/34 crew is scheduled to leave Kazakhstan on Oct. 15 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Also, in October, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral — the first commercial re-supply to the station by the company.
The Soyuz craft is currently the only way for astronauts and their colleagues around the world to reach the international space station, following the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.
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