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Onlookers check the Soyuz spacecraft after the three astronauts emerged today.
Onlookers check the Soyuz spacecraft after the three astronauts emerged today.
Image: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images/PA Images

Watch: ISS crew returns to Earth as NASA issues warning to remaining team

A piece of debris from a destroyed Chinese satellite is expected to pass close by the ISS tomorrow.
Nov 22nd 2011, 9:08 PM 4,978 9

THREE ASTRONAUTS who spent the past 167 days orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station have landed safely in Kazakhstan today.

The three-man Expedition 29 crew at around 2.30am Irish time today – or 8.26am in Kazakhstan.

American Michael Fossum, Russian Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan were medically examined after landing today, before being ferried to a special welcome home ceremony:

(Video uploaded by pressclubBG)

The three current ISS crew members arrived at the space station a bit later than scheduled after their journey was delayed following the explosion of a Soyuz rocket shortly after launch in August. The Soyuz rocket is the only way to bring astronauts, equipment and supplies to the ISS since NASA discontinued its space shuttle programme in the summer.

The two Russians and on American in the ISS will be joined by three more crew members in late December.

NASA has warned the crew that a piece of space junk from a Chinese weather satellite which was destroyed four years ago could come within 850 metres of the space station tomorrow. NASA says standard procedure for such ‘close call’ warnings is for the ISS to be manoevered slightly out of the way of such an object, but that in this case the undocking of the craft bringing the three crew members home has prevented that.

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It says that the crew members have been advised to close hatches between the station’s modules and get into the Soyuz craft, but that there is no threat from the debris.

Former ISS teams 27 and 28 produced the following incredible time-lapse footage of their journeys over the Earth:


(Video uploaded by Fragile Oasis on Vimeo))

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Susan Ryan

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