IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Three space station crew members safely return to Earth

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying the world's most experienced space flier and two rookie crewmates returned from the International Space Station on Friday.
Pictured: the previous returning spacecraft, Soyuz TMA-15M, after undocking from the International Space Station on June 11, 2015. (Photo by NASA)
Pictured: the previous returning spacecraft, Soyuz TMA-15M, after undocking from the International Space Station on June 11, 2015. 

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying the world's most experienced space flier and two rookie crewmates returned from the International Space Station on Friday, with a pinpoint parachute landing in Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.

The capsule departed the station at 5:39 p.m. ET and touched down at 8:51 p.m. ET southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

Strapped inside was former station commander Gennady Padalka, 57, returning from his fifth spaceflight with a record 879 days in orbit. The previous record was set by six-time flier Sergei Krikalev, who has a career total 803 days in space.

Joining Padalka for the ride back to Earth were two rookies, Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, both of whom spent less than 10 days in orbit.

"There definitely hasn't been time to get homesick," Mogensen, the first Dane in space, told reporters during an inflight press conference on Tuesday. "Time has really, really flown past."

Mogensen and Aimbetov launched with Padalka's replacement, veteran cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, aboard another Soyuz capsule on Sept. 2. That flight was originally to have included British soprano and aspiring space tourist Sarah Brightman. Citing family reasons, Brightman stopped training in May and relinquished her seat to Aimbetov.

In this photo, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen docked on its last trip to the International Space Station in May 2011.