Soyuz Plunges To Icy Earth

American astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev undocked their Soyuz spacecraft from the ISS early on Friday and plunged into a fiery re-entry before making a soft landing on - snow! After six months of observing the snowstorms on Earth from the comfort of orbit, the two space fliers got to experience 20f (-6c) temperatures first had as they cracked open the hatch. The capsule itself was pulled on to its side and dragged by strong winds in the main parachute, but it was not as exciting or dangerous as a bobsled run. The recovery vehicles were delayed by the heavy snow, but helicopters were able to land straight away and assist as the two got used to a steady gravity again.

Expedition 22 Touches Down In Snow

During their mission the Expedition 22 crew played host to two Shuttle missions and saw the installation of the new Tranquility node and Cupola. The departure of Williams and Suraev leaves a three person crew on the ISS for about two weeks until the compliment goes back up to six with the arrival of the Expedition 23 crew set to launch on April 2nd. Three days later on April 5th, Space Shuttle Atlantis is set to make its penultimate jaunt into space on a resupply mission to the station.

It's going to be a busy spring in orbit, so keep an eye on Spacers for a fix of space news.

Images credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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