A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts landed safely in a snow-covered Kazakh steppe on Thursday after a 167-day mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
A capsule carrying NASA station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Russian flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova landed in a vertical upright position shortly after sunrise at 0807 (2207 ET), some 147 km (92 miles) southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.
“Everything is going on by the book,” said a NASA television commentator. “Expedition 42 is back on Earth.”
Extracted from the capsule, which was charred on re-entry, the three were seated in semi-reclined chairs for a breath of fresh air and first medical checks, bundled up in blankets to protect them from frigid temperatures.
“Everything is great, thank you. The guys are great and worked very well,” said a smiling Serova while a female doctor measured her pulse and blood pressure.
“Congratulations on the recent holiday,” a rescue and recovery team officer said to Serova, referring to the International Women’s Day marked on March 8.
Serova made her first space flight and became the first Russian woman to serve on the ISS, a $100 billion project of 15 countries. Wilmore and Samokutyaev completed their second flights.