After a long service in space, three International Space Station astronauts have successfully returned home to Earth. They were scheduled for an earlier return, but a rocket failure delayed the return until today.
The astronauts, who include Terry Virts of NASA, Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, and Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, made it home early this morning after a trip lasting approximately 3 hours.
The astronauts were aboard the International Space Station for 199 days, in which Cristoforetti, just 38 years of age, marks a new record for the length of time of a woman being in space on a single mission.
You may recall Cristoforetti from many of the videos we've shared on LabRoots recently explaining how things are done in space, such as making a burrito, using the bathroom, and even what an International Space Station bedroom is like.
The astronauts returned home on The Soyuz, a craft intended for the safe arrival of the astronauts back to Earth from the International Space Station. The Soyuz landed in Kazakhstan, just south of Russia this morning.
The Soyuz, which broke off from the International Space Station and made its way for Earth, turned into a blazing ball of fire as it broke through the atmosphere of Earth. Nevertheless, the astronauts landed safely thanks to braking rocket action and a parachute that work together in unison to help cushion the fall.
It was a very adventure-packed mission. A recent NASA press release notes that the astronauts traveled a whopping 84 million miles since launching from Kazakhstan last year.
Below, you can watch a video of the astronauts saying goodbye to their colleagues at the International Space Station:
Soon, three new astronauts will return to the International Space Station to take their places.
Source: NASA, BBC