The Soyuz TMA-21 capsule, here seen in mid-air, landed about 93 miles from Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, a small city smack-dab in the center of the country. Sergei Ilnitsky/AP
The Russian Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, carrying three astronauts (Commander Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev, both Russian, and American Ron Garan) safely landed this morning in Kazakhstan, bringing them home after five months on the International Space Station. The landing, about 94 miles southeast of the smallish Kazakh city Zhezkazgan, wasn’t entirely flawless–mission control lost contact with the capsule briefly–but the landing itself was very smooth.
Three astronauts remain on board the ISS: Russian Sergei Volkov, American Michael Fossum, and Japanese Satoshi Furukawa. All three are due to return to Earth on November 22nd, which, as we noted, may leave the ISS unmanned for the first time in a decade, as the preceding launch of three new astronauts has been repeatedly delayed.