ISS Crew Safely Returned to Earth

European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands is carried in a chair from the Soyuz landing site to an inflatable medical tent after he and Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Soyuz Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri successfully landed in north central Kazakhstan in their Soyuz TMA-3 capsule. Foale and Kaleri completed 195 days in space aboard the International Space Station, while Kuipers returned after an 11-day research mission as part of a commercial agreement between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Bill Ingalls-Handout / NASA / Reuters

MISSION CONTROL CENTRE (Korolev, Moscow Region) (RIA Novosti) – The descent module from the International Space Station (ISS) softly landed in the Kazakh steppe early on Friday morning, April 30..

"The crew endured the descent and the landing well, and is cheerful", a representative of the space rescue service told the Mission Control Centre in the Moscow Region.

The descent module of the Souyz TMA-3 space ship with spacemen on board landed in the pre-set area on the territory of Kazakhstan. The commander of the search group watched the module’s descent from a helicopter and reported to the Mission Control Centre by radio that the module had landed normally 52 km north-east of Arkalyk populated area.

The eighth permanent crew of the ISS – US astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri – returned to Earth from a six-month-long space expedition. An astronaut from the visiting expedition – representative of the European Space Agency Andre Kuipers – came back from orbit together with them after a ten-day mission.


ESA Astronaut Grows Lettuce on ISS

MISSION CONTROL CENTER (KOROLEV, MOSCOW REGION) (RIA Novosti) – Andre Kuipers, a Dutch astronaut, who returned to the Earth on Friday, grew lettuce on the International Space Station (ISS).

As part of an educational program, Mr. Kuipers and children on earth grew lettuce simultaneously.

"The experiment is over," Mr. Kuipers told RIA Novosti.

"This is highly important both for science and the children on Earth," he added.

On April 22 Mr. Kuipers had a 12-minute conference with the European Space Agency research center. He promised the children that he would grow a good crop. The Dutch children were happy that the astronaut had fulfilled their request.

Mr. Kaupers, who spent ten days on the ISS, planted lettuce seeds on April 19.

As a control for the experiment, the astronaut and the children had the same amount and species of seed.