Monday, November 19, 2012

Soyuz Expedition 33 Returns to Earth

On Monday morning, November 19, 2012, Soyuz Expedition 33 landed near Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. The capsule carried three astronauts returning from a 127-day stay on the International Space Station: Akihiko Hoshide (@aki_hoshide) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Russian Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Sunita Williams (@astro_suni), who became the second woman to command the ISS. 

Expedition 33 made a rare night landing on the Kazakh steppe at 7:56 a.m. local time, before local sunrise. The temperature was well below freezing and the capsule landed on its side in the snow - but not before leaving a spectacular scorch and drag mark. As much as I love the space shuttle, you just don't see that sort of thing on the Cape ~

All three astronauts were recovered from the Expedition 33 capsule in good spirits. 

Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that the Soyuz capsules should be *named*?

The Soyuz capsule carved a trench in the snow upon landing, parachutes are visible in upper left

Another aerial view of the landing site and recovery team; capsule is on its side

Capsule upright prior to hatch opening

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who returned from a stay as Commander of the ISS

Photo credits: NASA

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