Foale, Kalery and ESA Astronaut Kuipers land in Kazakstan
Completing more than
six months in space, the International Space Station Expedition 8
crew, Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri,
returned to Earth today, bringing with them European Space Agency
Astronaut Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands, who had spent nine days
aboard the complex conducting research.
After a flawless descent aboard the ISS Soyuz 7 spacecraft,
Foale, Kaleri and Kuipers landed on target in north-central
Kazakstan, about 43 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of the town of
Arkalyk, at 7:12 p.m. CDT. Recovery forces arrived at the
site within moments of the touchdown.
Foale and Kaleri spent 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes in
space, the second longest expedition to be completed aboard the
Station. They launched on Oct. 18, 2003, on the same Soyuz
spacecraft that brought them home. In addition to scientific
experiments aboard the Station, in February Foale and Kaleri
conducted the first spacewalk ever performed from the complex by a
With the completion of this flight, Foale has accumulated more
time in space than any U.S. astronaut. On this mission, a 1997
flight to the Russian Mir Space Station, and four Space Shuttle
missions, Foale has amassed a total of 374 days, 11 hours and 19
minutes in space.
Foale, Kaleri and Kuipers will travel to Star City, Russia,
where they will remain for mission debriefings and medical
activities. Foale is expected to return to Houston in mid-May.
Aboard the Station, the Expedition 9 crew, Commander Gennady
Padalka and NASA Station Science Officer Mike Fincke, are
beginning a six-month mission that will include three spacewalks.
Expedition 9 is scheduled to return to Earth Oct. 21. Padalka and
Fincke will have light duty for the next three days as they rest
after completing the busy handover period of joint operations
between the two crews.
FMI: spaceflight.nasa.gov, scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov