Three ISS Crew Members Will Return to Earth Early Friday Morning – UPDATE

Three ISS Crew Members Will Return to Earth Early Friday Morning – UPDATE

UPDATE, December 11, 2015:  Soyuz TMA-17M landed successfully, although weather conditions at the landing site were very poor and confirmation of landing did not occur until many minutes after the scheduled landing time of 8:12 am EST.  Recovery forces are using an expedited procedure to get the crew out of the capsule and onto helicopters.

ORIGINAL STORY, December 10, 2015: Three International Space Station (ISS) crew members are preparing to return to Earth early tomorrow (Friday) morning Eastern Standard Time (EST).  NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, JAXA’s Kimiya Yui and Roscosmos’s Oleg Kononenko are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 8:12 am EST.

The three men launched to the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-17M on July 22, 2015, giving them almost 5 months on orbit.

Three more crew members will be launched next Tuesday to replace them on Soyuz TMA-19M.   That crew includes the first British astronaut sponsored by the British government, Tim Peake.  

He is not the first Briton in space, however.  Helen Sharman achieved that distinction in 1991 when she flew to Russia’s Mir space station as a “tourist.”  Other people who were born in Britain, but became U.S. citizens before joining the NASA astronaut corps, also have flown.  The British government’s decision to support a British astronaut as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut corps is generally seen as an indication that the British government has a more positive view of human exploration than in the past (where space applications has been the predominant theme).

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