Soyuz Landing Caps Space Station's First Decade of Expeditions

WASHINGTON -- Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight
Engineers Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin safely landed their
Soyuz spacecraft on the Kazakhstan steppe Thursday, wrapping up a
five-month stay aboard the International Space Station.

Russian cosmonaut Yurchikhin, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls
of the spacecraft as it undocked at 8:23 p.m. EST from the station's
Rassvet module. The trio landed at 11:46 p.m. (10:46 a.m. on Nov. 26
local time) at a site northeast of the town of Arkalyk.

Working in frigid temperatures, Russian recovery teams were on hand to
help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and re-adjust to gravity.
Yurchikhin will return to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in
Star City, outside of Moscow, while Wheelock and Walker will fly
directly home to Houston.

The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 15. As members of the Expedition 24
and 25 crews, they spent 163 days in space, 161 of them aboard the
station, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of continuous human
life, work and research by international crews aboard the station on Nov. 2.

During their mission, the Expedition 24 and 25 crew members worked on
more than 120 microgravity experiments in human research; biology and
biotechnology; physical and materials sciences; technology
development; and Earth and space sciences.

The astronauts also responded to an emergency shutdown of half of the
station's external cooling system and supported three unplanned
spacewalks by Wheelock and Expedition 24 Flight Engineer Tracy
Caldwell Dyson to replace the faulty pump module that caused the
shutdown. Their efforts restored the station's critical cooling
system to full function.

Yurchikhin has logged 371 total days in space, Wheelock 178 days and
Walker 163 days.

The station is occupied by Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and
Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka of the Russian
Federal Space Agency. A new trio of Expedition 26 flight engineers,
NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev
and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, will launch from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 15. They will dock with the station and
join its crew on Dec. 17.

To send holiday greetings to the crew and get more information about
the space station, visit:


Wheelock and Kelly both post updates about their missions to their
Twitter pages at:



Source: NASA

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