Snowy Soyuz Touchdown!

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In what was likely a softer –albeit colder — Soyuz landing than usual, ISS Expedition 22 astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Max Suraev landed their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday, wrapping up a five-and-a-half-month stay aboard the International Space Station. The entire process of undocking and re-entry of the Soyuz was captured by the newest and hottest space photographer, Soichi Noguchi, (@Astro_Soichi) who has been sending down amazing Twitpics from space. See his very unique images below.

Suraev was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 8:03 GMT (4:03 a.m. EDT) from the station’s Poisk module. The duo landed at 11:24 GMT (7:24 a.m. EDT) at a site northeast of the Kazakh town of Arkalyk. The recovery teams had to work in frigid temperatures to help the crew exit the Soyuz and readjust to gravity, and then transport them to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow.

Soyuz departing from the ISS. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Soichi Noguchi

“Fly safe my friends!” wrote @Astro_Soichi.

See all of Noguchi’s photos at his Twitpic page.