Wednesday morning three ISS astronauts landed in Kazakhstan safely. The astronauts included American Chris Cassidy and Russians Ravel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin. All three appeared to be well and in good spirits after exiting the Soyuz capsule. From the capsule’s departure from the ISS to landing, the astronaut trio had a flight that lasted only three hours.
Ending Expedition 36, the three crew members returned to Earth after a 166 day mission on the International Space Station, according to International Business Times. Before departing, station commander Vinogradov formally handed control over to engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin.
Helicopters with trained experts and medical personnel found the capsule in a sunny field in Kazakhstan. The astronauts’ time in the low gravity of orbit left the crew unable to walk. As such, the crew had to be lifted out of the capsule and put into chairs and carried.
After the ISS astronauts landed, both Russian crew members were taken to a nearby hospital and examined despite appearing to be in good health. Doctors working in the Russian space program hope to learn more about the effects of long-term missions in space on the human body.
After leaving for the ISS in late March, the three astronauts had completed 2,656 Earth orbits, traveling over 70 million miles during their mission. Each crew member also performed several spacewalks. Cassidy and Misurkin both did three spacewalks each while Vinogradov did one. The Epoch Times notes that Vinogradov, currently 60, has become the oldest person to land a Soyuz vehicle.
A replacement crew including American Mike Hopkins and Russians Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy will depart for the ISS on September 25. From launch to docking, the process should take roughly six hours.
Check out some of these cool pictures taken of the ISS astronauts landing in Kazakhstan:
[Images via NASA]