Saturday, 21 April, 2018

The world's most experienced spacewoman is returning to Earth

The world's most experienced spacewoman is returning to Earth The world's most experienced spacewoman is returning to Earth
Clarence Schmidt | 03 September, 2017, 06:00

Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 9.22 p.m. EDT on Saturday (6.52 a.m. Sunday, India time).

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is all set to return to Earth after saying bye-bye to the International Space Station (ISS), the United States space agency has said. The trio will undock their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the space station at 5:58 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 p.m. (7:22 a.m. September 3, Kazakhstan time). She also was the first woman to command the space station twice.

Their Soyuz capsule landed in Kazakhstan shortly after sunrise Sunday, Saturday night back in the U.S. She set multiple other records while in orbit: world's oldest spacewoman, at age 57, and most experienced female spacewalker, with 10.

NASA space champ Peggy Whitson is on her way back to Earth to wrap up a record-breaking flight. Returning Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin has logged even more time in orbit: 673 days over five missions.

Launched last November 17 aboard the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft, Whitson logged 288 days in space during her third, extended mission while Yurchikhin and Fischer logged 136 days.

Whitson ranks behind a handful of Russian cosmonauts record-setters who spent time on Russia's Mir space station as well as the International Space Station (ISS), where Whitson spent her most recent mission.

The crew will participate in standard post-flight medical evaluations. She is eighth on the all-time space endurance list, NASA said. The astronauts will then fly back to the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany, where the NASA Gulfstream jet will pick them up and take them back to Houston. Yurchikhin and Fischer arrived to the ISS on April 20, 2017, and their mission lasted 135 days.

The astronauts' return comes as the Texas city of Houston, home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, has been struggling to get back to normalcy after a week of deadly flooding triggered by Hurricane Harvey.

The space station's crew normally is evenly split between the Russians and the USA segment, with three cosmonauts and three astronauts representing NASA, ESA, Japan and Canada.

After the astronauts return to Houston, they will spend the next 45 days doing physical rehabilitation and undergoing a series of medical tests both for health reasons and scientific research.

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