Expedition 14 Returns to Earth

Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. Image credit: NASA/Bill IngallsThe two crewmembers of Expedition 14 returned to Earth on Saturday, with astro-tourist Charles Simonyi along for the ride. Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin had been aboard the International Space Station since September 20th, while Simonyi arrived on April 7th. Their Soyuz TMA-9 capsule touched down in the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 1231 GMT (8:31 am EDT).

The mission saw several records. Mike Lopez-Alegria set a new US record for the longest single spaceflight, reaching 215-days in space during Expedition 14. And billionaire Charles Simonyi was in space for 14 days – the longest flight for a paying tourist.

The landing itself was pushed back a day because heavy rains made the landing site difficult to land at. It was eventually moved to another site, drier and further south.

Original Source: NASA News Release