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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Expedition 36 Returns Safely To Earth in a Cushion of Fire

By Phil Plait

On Sep. 10, 2013, at 14:58 UTC, three astronauts landed safely on Earth after six months on board the International Space Station.

The picture above shows the moment of touchdown. The Russian Soyuz capsule has retrorockets that fire briefly to soften the landing, which was in a field in Kazakhstan.

The three astronauts in the capsuleâAmerican Chris Cassidy, and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkinâwere part of Expedition 36, joining the ISS on March 28, 2013. Three astronauts are still onboard ISS, and they are officially now starting Expedition 37. On Sep. 25, three more astronauts will be launched onto space on a Soyuz spacecraft to join them.

When astronauts return to Earth, I have a tendency to say they are âcoming homeâ. But in a sense thatâs not really true, is it? After all, astronauts belong in space; thatâs what makes them astronauts. I guess home is where you hang your helmet.

You can see more photos of the landing on NASAâs Expedition 36 Flickr page.

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