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Expedition 8 Lands Safely.
After more than six months in space on board the International Space Station, the crew of Expedition 8 landed safely today in north-central Kazakhstan. Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri, as well as ESA Astronaut Andre Kuipers touched down in their Soyuz capsule at 0012 UTC (8:12 pm EDT), and were pulled out minutes later. A helium leak reported on the Soyuz capsule didn't cause any problems with the landing.
After more than six months in space, the International Space Station Expedition 8 crew, Commander Mike Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri, returned safely to Earth today. With them was European Space Agency Astronaut Andre Kuipers of the Netherlands, who had spent nine days conducting research aboard the Station.
After a flawless descent aboard their Soyuz spacecraft, Foale, Kaleri and Kuipers landed on target in north-central Kazakhstan. They landed about 70 kilometers (43 miles) northwest of Arkalyk, at 8:12 p.m. EDT. Recovery forces arrived within moments of touchdown.
Foale and Kaleri spent 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes in space, the second longest expedition completed aboard the Station. They launched on Oct. 18, 2003, on the same Soyuz spacecraft that brought them home. They conducted scientific experiments aboard the Station. In February Foale and Kaleri conducted the first spacewalk ever performed from the complex by a two-person crew.
With the completion of this flight, Foale has accumulated more time in space than any U.S. astronaut. After this mission, a 1997 flight to the Russian Mir Space Station, and four Space Shuttle missions, he has 374 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes in space.
Foale, Kaleri and Kuipers will travel to star City, Russia, where they will remain for mission debriefings and medical activities. Foale is expected to return to Houston in mid-May.
Aboard the Station, the Expedition 9 crew, Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Station Science Officer Mike Fincke, are beginning a six-month mission that will include three spacewalks. Expedition 9 is scheduled to return to Earth Oct. 21, 2004. Padalka and Fincke will have light duty for the next three days, as they rest after completing the busy hand over period of joint operations between the two crews.
Information about the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities is available on the Internet at:
Details about Station science operations is an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
For information about NASA, agency missions and programs on the Internet, visit:
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