The three Expedition 29 astronauts have safely returned to Earth after spending nearly six months on the International Space Station. They landed to a cold and snowy Kazakhstan at 8:26 p.m. CST Nov. 21 (8:26 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Nov. 22). Video cameras on the space station captured the dramatic re-entry of the Soyuz capsule, and the fiery show was also visible to bystanders on the ground on the Russian central steppe.
Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum, Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency began their long duration mission back on June 9, spending 167 days in space and 165 on the ISS. During their stay, the crew celebrated the 11th year of continual human presence on the space station, enduring a scare of potentially having to leave the ISS unmanned after an August failure of a Progress re-supply ship.
But a successful Progress/Soyuz rocket launch on Oct. 30 paved the way for a the next Expedition crew to launch on Nov. 14. Before leaving the station, Fossum handed over command to Expedition 30 commander Dan Burbank (NASA) and Flight Engineers
Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, who will continue research and maintenance aboard the station. See the change of command ceremony below, followed by a video of the Soyuz undocking.
The remaining Expedition 30 crew members, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers, and cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, are scheduled to launch Dec. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and dock with the station on Dec. 23.