MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) – The Soyuz TMA-06M manned spacecraft touched down on Saturday ending its three-and-a-half hour voyage to bring three International Space Station (ISS) crew members to Earth after 142 days in orbit.
The Soyuz spacecraft, carrying Expedition 34 members – Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin, and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford – landed at 7:06 a.m. Moscow time (3:06 a.m. GMT) 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia.
Three planes, 14 Mi-8 helicopters and seven rescue vehicles were involved in a quick search for the landing capsule.
Preliminary reports indicate that the landing was safe and the crew is in a good shape.
Bad weather conditions forced the Russian space agency Roscosmos to postpone the Soyuz undocking and landing by one day.
Novitsky, Tarelkin and Ford arrived at the ISS in October 2012.
Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and US astronaut Thomas Marshburn remain on board the orbital station. Hadfield took over command of the ISS from Ford on Wednesday.
In late March, three members of Expedition 35 – Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy – are expected to arrive at the ISS on board a Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft.