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Soyuz TMA-3 Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Status Report From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2004

image Expedition 8 Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri returned to Earth on Thursday after spending six months at the International Space Station. Their ISS Soyuz 7 spacecraft landed at 7:12 p.m. CDT Thursday (0012 GMT Friday) in Kazakhstan, about 43 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of the town of Arkalyk. The Soyuz undocked from the ISS earlier in the day at 3:52 p.m. CDT (2052 GMT).

Returning to Earth with Expedition 8 was European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut André Kuipers of the Netherlands, who flew to the ISS with the Expedition 9 crew under a commercial agreement between ESA and the Federal Space Agency of Russia. He spent his nine days at the Station conducting science experiments for ESA.

The trio will now undergo medical evaluations and be transported to Star City, Russia, where Foale and Kaleri will spend the next few weeks rehabilitating after their long space flight.

Expedition 8 launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 18 and arrived at the Station on Oct. 20. They spent 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes in space.

Foale became the U.S. record holder for most cumulative time in space at 12:47 p.m. CST Dec. 8, 2003, when he surpassed Astronaut Carl Walz. With the conclusion of Expedition 8, Foale has amassed 374 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes in space. Walz has 230 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes and 37 seconds.

Kaleri is now fifth on the all-time space endurance list with 611 days. Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev, holds the all-time record for time spent in space, with 748 days accumulated on three flights.

In space, Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke are in the first few hours of their solo tour of duty as the resident crew of the Station. They will spend the next 5 1/2 months conducting science experiments, performing spacewalks and maintaining Station operations. They officially took command of the ISS station at 12:47 p.m. CDT (1747 GMT) Thursday when the hatches between the Station and Soyuz were closed.

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