Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight
Engineer Max Suraev landed their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft on the
steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday, wrapping up a five-and-a-half-month
stay aboard the International Space Station.
Suraev, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls of the spacecraft as
it undocked at 4:03 a.m. EDT from the station's Poisk module. The duo
landed at 7:24 a.m. at a site northeast of the Kazakh town of
Working in frigid temperatures, Russian recovery teams were on hand at
the landing site to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and readjust
to gravity. The crew members will return to the Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow.
Williams and Suraev launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft from
the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 30, 2009. As members
of the Expedition 21 and 22 crews, they spent 167 days on the
station, presiding over the completion of the complex's U.S. segment.
The astronauts supported two space shuttle flights and helped install
the Tranquility module, the cupola viewing port and a second Russian
docking module. Scientific research aboard the station continued to
ramp up with the increase in available crew time and laboratory
Williams now has logged 362 total days in space, placing him fourth on
the all-time U.S. list of long-duration space travelers. Peggy
Whitson, who has spent 377 days in space, tops that list.
The station now is occupied by Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov and
Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer. A new trio of
Expedition 23 flight engineers -- Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell
Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko -- will launch from the Baikonour
Cosmodrome on April 2 and join the current station crew with a
docking on April 4.
Contact: John Yembrick
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