Record-holding US astronaut and two Russians return to Earth

2016-09-08 09:56
Expedition 48 NASA astronaut Jeff Williams of the US rests in a chair outside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft a few moments after he and Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Nasa/Bill Ingalls/AFP)

Expedition 48 NASA astronaut Jeff Williams of the US rests in a chair outside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft a few moments after he and Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Nasa/Bill Ingalls/AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - An American astronaut who set the US record for cumulative time in orbit safely returned to Earth early on Wednesday along with two Russian cosmonauts after a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Nasa’s Jeff Williams, 58, logged 534 days in space over four missions. The ISS commander landed at 07:13 local time on the steppes of central Kazakhstan aboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule along with Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka.

"Touchdown! Welcome home @Astro_Jeff, officially back on Earth after 172-day mission & total 534 days on 4 missions," NASA tweeted.

A Nasa live video feed showed Williams on the ground smiling and waving while talking on a satellite phone before being carried away for medical tests.

The three men undocked from the ISS nearly three and a half hours earlier after spending their mission largely conducting scientific experiments.

Williams performed five spacewalks, including one along with Nasa astronaut Kate Rubins to install a docking adapter for future commercial Boeing and SpaceX crew capsules to visit the space station.

"Williams was instrumental in preparing the station for the future arrival of US commercial crew spacecraft," Nasa said in a statement.

He also helped set up an experimental temporary inflatable module designed by Bigelow Aerospace to test expandable habitats astronauts might use on the Moon or Mars in the coming decades.

The retired Army colonel beat the previous US record set by astronaut Scott Kelly during his year in orbit.

Kelly has 520 days in space over his career.

Williams, a grandfather, is also the oldest American to spend live on the space station.

Williams first blasted to space aboard the shuttle Atlantis in 2000.

He returned to the International Space Station in 2006 when the space station was far smaller - with just two modules and three crew members - and again in 2009.

Today, the ISS is staffed by six astronauts and cosmonauts and spans the size of a football field.

Williams may hold the US record for time in orbit, but Russia's Gennady Padalka still holds the record for the person with the most cumulative days in space at 879.

Read more on:    nasa  |  kazakhstan  |  space exploration

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.