Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing

Three space travelers safely returned to Earth from a International Space Station currently (Sept. 2) as their Soyuz MS-04 booster overwhelmed down on a steppes of Kazakhstan, finale a record-shattering goal for one American crewmember.


NASA’s record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson returned home on a Soyuz from an extended 288-day goal to a International Space Station (ISS). During her stay, she set a new record for a many accumulative time in space by an American with 665 days accrued. Her crewmates, NASA wanderer Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin both spent 136 days aboard a orbiting laboratory. Landing occuured during 9:21 p.m. EDT (0121 Sept. 3 GMT), yet it was Sunday morning internal time during a touchdown site.

Expedition 51/52 crewmembers Fischer and Yurchikhin arrived during a ISS in Apr with an dull chair in their Soyuz. Whitson, who arrived in Nov with Expedition 50/51, filled that dull chair for a lapse moody after NASA and Russia’s space group Roscosmos concluded to extend her stay by Expedition 52. [Peggy Whitson, NASA’s Record-BreakingAstronaut, in Photos]

With all 3 seats filled, a Soyuz MS-04 booster undocked from a space station’s Poisk procedure during 5:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT), kicking off a crew’s 3-hour and 24-minute tour behind to Earth. About 3 hours later, a Soyuz barreled into Earth’s atmosphere roving during a speed of over 500 mph (800 km/h).

Friction with a atmosphere caused temperatures outward a booster to strech a boiling 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,400 degrees Celsius). A feverishness defense outward a Soyuz helped keep a organisation comparatively cold during a plunge. A array of parachutes were deployed to delayed a booster down about 15 mins before touchdown, followed by a last-second bake of 6 soft-landing engines that helped pillow a final few feet of a fall. [Infographic: Russia’s Soyuz Space Capsule Explained]

They successfully overwhelmed down on aim in a remote area circuitously a city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. The Soyuz booster sloping over onto a side, that is common for Soyuz organisation landings, NASA TV commentator Rob Navias pronounced during a webcast of a landing.

NASA wanderer Peggy Whitson (left), Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (center) and NASA wanderer Jack Fischer (right) poise for a print after alighting in Kazakhstan on Sept. 3, 2017 internal time (late Sept. 2, EDT). Whitson spent 288 days on a space hire during her flight, with Fischer and Yurchikhin spending 136 days on their mission.
Credit: NASA TV

Recovery teams watched a alighting from helicopters circuitously before forward to a alighting site to assistance a space travelers out of their capsule. After a organisation gets checked out in a medical tent on-site, a helicopters will lift them behind to Kazakhstan’s Karaganda airfield for a normal welcoming rite before they house planes and conduct home.

While Yurchikhin will go to Russia’s cosmonaut core in Moscow, Whitson and Fischer will conduct to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After a harmful floods brought by Hurricane Harvey led NASA to tighten a center, a group had to come adult with a strait devise for removing a astronauts home.

“Because of a after-effects of Hurricane Harvey, a NASA Gulfstream jet was incompetent to leave Houston in time to make it to a entertainment city of Karaganda in sequence to perform what is called a ‘direct return’ of a organisation behind to Houston,” Navias pronounced Saturday morning as a crewmembers pronounced farewell to their colleagues in space. [Space Station Photos: Expedition 52 Crew in Orbit

A Russian Soyuz space plug carrying NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin lands on a Kazakhstan steppe on Sept. 3, 2017 internal time (late Sept. 2 EDT). The contingent finished a months-long goal to a International Space Station.
Credit: NASA TV

“The European Space Agency stepped adult to a image and offering a use of a craft that has been to Karaganda before,” Navias said. “They will be staid in Karaganda to wait a attainment of Whitson and Fischer.” The astronauts will afterwards fly behind to a European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany, where a NASA Gulfstream jet will collect them adult and take them behind to Houston.

Their lapse is still scheduled for Sunday night, “just about a same time they would have returned to Houston had a NASA Gulfstream jet finished this all by itself,” Navias said, adding that nothing of a scholarship experiments or investigate samples a organisation brought behind with them had been impacted.

“Our home is fine, though so many friends and co-workers have been impacted [by a storm],” Whitson said in an interview with NASA. “For example, in sequence to keep goal control running, a group (three shifts of a skeleton support crew) were sleeping on cots in a backup goal control rooms. Their sacrifices for a hire and gripping things using adult here are amazing.”

After a astronauts lapse to Houston, they will spend a subsequent 45 days doing earthy reconstruction and undergoing a array of medical tests both for health reasons and systematic research. “There are many investigations on a tellurian physique that we’ve been doing adult here in orbit, so we’ll have to continue those studies as good during that initial 45 days,” Whitson pronounced during an in-flight talk with Space.com.

“In further to that, we’re doing a lot of debriefs articulate to a belligerent teams about procedures that worked unequivocally well, procedures that we need to try to improve, collection or hardware that we had issues with — usually ideas for how to operationally urge a efficiencies adult here so that we can get even some-more done,” she said. “So that initial 45 days is indeed going to be really busy.”

The Expedition 52 organisation poses for a mural during a International Space Station. Pictured clockwise from tip right: Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Fyodor Yurchikhin.
Credit: ESA/NASA

Back during a space station, NASA wanderer Randy Bresnik, European Space Agency wanderer Paolo Nespoli and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky will be a usually 3 crewmembers on house until Sept. 12, when a Expedition 52/53 crewmembers arrive. NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will afterwards wharf during a ISS in their Soyuz MS-05 booster and will spend a subsequent 6 months in space. On Friday (Sept. 1) Yurchikhin handed over authority of a ISS to Bresnik.

Yurchikhin has now spent a sum of 673 days in space over a march of 5 flights and is now is now in seventh place on a all-time spaceflight continuation list. He has spent usually 8 some-more days in space than Whitson, whose 665 days in space puts her during series 8 on that list. She also became NASA’s all-time spaceflight generation record holder during this goal when she upheld NASA wanderer Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days. Whitson’s 288-day aboard a hire was also a longest singular spaceflight by a lady of any nationality. Fischer, a rookie wanderer returning from his initial outing to space, has now accrued 136 days in orbit.

Email Hanneke Weitering during hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original essay on Space.com.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com