Expedition 27 crew successfully returns to Earth

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The crew of Soyuz TMA-20, which landed on Tuesday in Kazakhstan.
Image: NASA.

The Expedition 27 crew returned to Earth safely from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday. The crew landed in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft, the same craft they launched on last December.

The crew, consisting of commander Dmitri Kondratyev and flight engineers Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli, spent approximately five months in space aboard the ISS.

After landing, recovery teams helped the crew exit their Soyuz capsule and adjust to surface gravity again. While Kondratyev returned to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Coleman and Nespoli returned to Houston, Texas.

While in space the crew worked on over 150 microgravity experiments and saw the arrival of several spacecraft: a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, two Russian Progress cargo ships, the European Johannes Kepler ATV and the space shuttles Discovery and Endeavour on their final flights.

This was Russian cosmonaut and commander Dimitri Kondratyev's first spaceflight, the third for NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, and the second for European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

The crew of STS-134 and Expedition 28 remain aboard the ISS. Three new crew members are expected to launch on June 7 to join their colleagues aboard the orbital outpost.