THE FRIENDLY GHOST
MOSCOW – A Soyuz spacecraft carrying two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut back to earth from the International Space Station landed safely in Kazakhstan on Friday.
The spacecraft, containing Russian commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA's Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker touched down as planned at 0446 GMT north of the remote central Kazakh town of Arkalyk, Russia's space agency Roskosmos said.
"We have a landing!" flashed the flight monitoring screens at mission control just outside Moscow.
Images of the crew on state television showed Yurchikhin bundled against gusty winds in a blue thermal blanket.
He shut his eyes as doctors checked his pulse and wiped his brow after the Soyuz's fiery descent through the atmosphere ended his five and half months in space.
Next out of the space capsule, Walker flashed a wide smile and winked at television cameras as she accepted a bouquet of flowers from members of the recovery teams.