Soyuz departs space station, ending Whitson's 288 day mission

NASA astronaut and Iowa native Peggy Whitson will check out of the International Space Station on Saturday and head home after 9 1/2 months.

A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin lands on the Kazakhstan steppe on September 3, 2017 local time (late September 2 EDT).

"Any trepidations I might have about returning in the aftermath of a hurricane are entirely eclipsed by the all those folks keeping our mission going", she said.

The crew will participate in standard post-flight medical evaluations. This was her third flight.

At the time of their landing, she will have accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career, more than any American astronaut, placing her eighth on the all- time space endurance list.

Roscosmos' Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA's Randy Bresnik and European Space Agency's (ESA) Paolo Nespoli will remain at the ISS until the Expedition 53/54 comes.

"I will miss the ability to "go for a walk" in a spaceship built for one", commented Whitson.

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Whitson and two other astronauts landed in Kazakhstan late Saturday, U.S. time.

Peggy Whitson, 57, is also the oldest female astronaut in the history of space exploration, was the first female International Space Station commander, and holds the record for number of spacewalks by a woman.

Return to Earth NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fisher and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.

Mr Yurchikhin has logged 673 days in space over five missions and Mr Fischer has done 136 days.

Russian Fyodor Yurchijin and Americans Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, members of 52nd expedition to the ISS, landed at 7.21 a.m., near a remote area in Dzhezkazgan, reports Efe news. On Friday (Sept. 1) Yurchikhin handed over command of the ISS to Bresnik.

The space station's crew normally is evenly split between the Russians and the USA segment, with three cosmonauts and three astronauts representing NASA, ESA, Japan and Canada. "It's one of the most gratifying jobs I've ever had".

"Our home is fine, but so many friends and co-workers have been impacted [by the storm]", Whitson said in an interview with NASA.

  • Toni Ryan