AKIPRESS.COM - Peggy Whitson, American astronaut, returned to Earth Saturday after a 288-day stay aboard the International Space Station, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan with Soyuz MS-04 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Jack Fischer, reports say.
Descending gently under a parachute, the Soyuz crew module settled to a jarring rocket-assisted touchdown near the town of Dzezkazgan at 9:21 p.m. EDT (GMT-4; 7:21 a.m. Sunday local time).
Russian recovery crews, along with NASA flight surgeons and support personnel, quickly reached the spacecraft to help the returning crew members out of the cramped descent module as they begin their re-adjustment to the unfamiliar tug of gravity.
Whitson arrived to the International Space Station on November 17, 2016 and spent nearly one year on the orbit. Yurchikhin and Fischer arrived to the ISS on April 20, 2017, and their mission lasted 135 days.
The ISS crew will comprise Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky, NASA astronaut Randolph Bresnik and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli. They are to be joined by Russia’s Aleksandr Misurkin, and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba, whose Soyuz MS-06 is due to blast off on September 13.