Best Ride Ever: ISS Astronauts Return Home In Epic Landing
They have arrived! The ISS crew successfully landed on Earth using the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft last June 18 after spending 186 days in space.
Three astronauts aboard the Soyuz spacecraft are Expedition 47 commander and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, ESA astronaut Tim Peake and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. They landed after an expected bumpy ride back to Earth at 5:15 am in Kazakhstan.
The trio was quickly rescued and retrieved by the Russian recovery team. The recovery team was seen circling the crash site while the parachuted-spacecraft carefully descended from space.
The astronauts are fine after surviving almost a three-hour flight back home in the cramped space in the capsule. They were immediately placed in a reclining chair and had undergone initial check-up after the recovery. A team of flight surgeons and nurses attended to the trio prepared for any unwanted physical conditions due to landing and re-entry on the planet.
British astronaut Tim Peake was elated to see the Sun and marveled at the "smell of the Earth".
"I'd love some cool rain right now!" Tim Peake said in a statement, published by the New York Post. After their arrival, the crew dished out their space suits and changed into Earth-borne clothing before they were flown to their respective bases.
Although the landing was considered generally smooth, the capsule landed on its side after being caught by the wind. The landing was somehow obscured by this small occurrence that might have shaken the trio inside, but experts say this is quite normal in a space capsule landing.
The world watched through NASA live TV as the epic landing unfolds. Major Peake, with his eyes closed obviously adjusting to the sunlight, gave a thumbs up and spoke to the press. The British astronaut had only nice words to say about the journey "it was incredible, a real ride. Best ride I've been on ever," said Peake, according to a report by the Guardian.
The trio's return marks the completion of NASA's human research studies including ocular health, cognition, salivary markers and microbiome. The research will pave the wave for relevant vaccines for diseases such as glaucoma, long-duration explorations and of course, health benefits for medical practices on Earth.