Three space men from the International Space Station returned to Earth on Sunday after spending five months floating around in microgravity.
Image Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA
The crew, which consisted of Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of JAXA, hitched a ride on one of Russia’s Soyuz space vehicles to return to the usual landing site located in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz spacecraft touched the ground at approximately 12:39 GMT after deploying its highly-visible red and white parachute to slow the vehicle’s descent. Upon landing, the three men emerged from the capsule unscathed with the assistance of local recovery crews.
You can watch the landing below:
"We are a bit tired but happy with what we have accomplished and happy to be back on Earth," said Anton Shkaplerov after exiting the spacecraft. "We are glad the weather is sunny."
After spending 168 days in space and orbiting Earth more than 2,600 times, it will take several weeks for their bodies to accommodate to gravity and Earthly physics. The actual recovery time varies from person to person, but the first 24 hours are considered the toughest.
The crew’s return leaves just three space men onboard the International Space Station, including NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
The International Space Station will continue scientific research at half capacity until three replacement astronauts arrive by way of a future crewed mission.