Sunita Williams Returns to Earth after Spending 4 Months In Space
The Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams along with her two co-astronauts Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko have returned to Earth after spending four months in the orbit.
She landed safely along with her two flight engineers from the International Space Station (ISS) and touched down on the steppes of Central Kazakhstan. They touched down in the chilly area of Central Kazakhstan in the dark and they were on board of a Russian Soyuz capsule. The three astronauts landed in the vast expanse of Central Kazakhstan at 07:26 IST in the town of Arkalyk on the 19th of November 2014.
Helicopters had to rush with search and recovery team on board to assist them as the Soyuz capsule landed down some 35 kilometres away from the planned touchdown area site because of procedural delay. Sunita and her co-astronauts bid farewell to three other fellow astronauts at the International Space Station. The trio astronauts who are still at the International Space Station are Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy, Kevin Ford and Evgeny Tarelkin. They will be returning to Earth only next year.
Sunita Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko undocked from the Rassvet module of the ISS on the 18th of November 2014 and they completed a 127 day stint in outer space. They were launched into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on the 15th of July this year. They spent 125 days at the International Space Station.
Williams has now spent a total of 322 days in outer space during her two long stint missions in the orbit. She previously visited the ISS in the capacity of an Expedition 14/15 flight engineer from December 9, 2006 to June 22, 2007. Williams has a record of completing 50 hours and 40 minutes of spacewalking that she has covered over seven spacewalks, which also includes her walks she conducted during Expedition 32 and 33. She now holds the record for the most spacewalking done by female astronauts.
This was the second space trip that Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hoshide had undertaken and he had previously visited the ISS aboard space shuttle Discovery on an STS 124 mission in 2008.
The Russian co-astronaut Soyuz Commander Malenchenko has now completed his fifth spaceflight and he has spent a total of 642 days in space so far. He is placed seventh in the all time endurance list. The post landing video file that also includes the interviews with the crew will be aired by NASA TV later.