Space trio lands on Sputnik anniversary

Soyuz landing

At the end of its parachute, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft fires its landing pyrotechnic devices as it touches down, bringing a U.S.-Russian crew back to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

What better way to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the start of the Space Age than to see the successful return of U.S. and Russian spacefliers from orbit?

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, touched down in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 5:44 p.m. local time (4:44 a.m. PT) today, 61 years after Russians sent their Sputnik satellite into space to kick off the U.S.-Soviet space race.

The landing came hours after the trio’s departure from the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Their tour of duty in space amounted to 197 days, highlighted by three spacewalks undertaken by Feustel and Arnold to replace and upgrade space station equipment.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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