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Trio from ISS Lands Safely In Kazakhstan


Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted almost seven months on the International Space Station (ISS). Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, along with NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers, PI9ISS, landed their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 0514 UTC. The trio -- who arrived at the station December 23, 2011 -- spent a total of 193 days in space, 191 of which were aboard the ISS.

During their expedition, the crew supported more than 200 scientific investigations involving more than 400 researchers around the world. The studies ranged from integrated investigations of the human cardiovascular and immune systems to fluid, flame and robotic research.

Before leaving the ISS, Kononenko handed over command of Expedition 32 to the Russian Federal Space Agency’s Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, who remains aboard the station with NASA astronaut Joe Acaba,KE5DAR, and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Revin, RN3BS. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, along with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, KE5DNI, are scheduled to go to the ISS July 14 and will join them three days later.

On June 25, Pettit celebrated achieving one cumulative year in space, combining his time in orbit on Expedition 6, Expedition 30/31 and the STS-126 space shuttle Endeavour flight to the ISS in November 2008. Pettit now has 370 days in space, placing him fourth among US space fliers for the longest time in space.  -- Thanks to NASA for the information



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