Three astronauts and Olympic torch return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-09M reentry vehicle

The reentry vehicle of Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft has successfully landed in Kazakhstan with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano aboard.

The reentry vehicle of Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft has successfully landed in Kazakhstan with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano aboard.

"Landing made"-sign appeared on the big screen at the flight control center in Korolyov near Moscow, an Interfax-AVN correspondent reports.

The Olympic torch also returned to Earth on the reentry vehicle. It had been delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) on November 7 on Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft. On November 9 Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky took the torch into open space.

"Soyuz TMA-09M took off from Baikonur at 0:31 a.m. Moscow time on May 29 and docked with ISS at 6:10 a.m. the same day. Yurchikhin made space walks on June 24, August 19 and 22, and Parmitano on July 9 and 16. Besides, the crew hosted Progress M-20M resupply ship and docked off the European ATV vehicle, had a communication session with visitors of MAKS-2013 international aerospace show, and moved Soyuz TMA-09M from Rassvet scientific module to the port of Zvezda service module. In addition, Yurchikhin cast his ballot in the Moscow region gubernatorial election.

After the departure of Soyuz TMA-09M from the Russian segment of ISS and until the arrival of the next long-term expedition ISS is operated by a crew consisting of Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Sergei Ryazansky and Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

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