Three of the six members of the International Space Station crew Expedition 23 have returned to Earth, including ISS photographer @Astro_Soichi. Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and flight engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer (who tweets here), all of who had served on Expedition 22, landed this morning in a Soyuz Capsule borne on parachutes. They left behind three fellow expedition 23 crew members, now continuing on to Expedition 24 – new Commander Alexander Skvortsov and flight engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko. These will be joined by flight engineers Shannon Walker, Doug Wheelock (who tweets here) and Fyodor Yurchikhin, all of who will remain for this and the following Expedition 25. They will be launched to the station in a Soyuz TMA-19 later this month, 9:35pm BST, June 15th.
In scenes shown on NASA TV (and later archived to their Youtube Channel) and commented on via NASA’s Twitter feed, the crew said their goodbyes at 9:30pm last night. The Soyuz craft undocked from the station at 1:04am this morning with Oleg Kotov at the controls. After 161 days in space, the crew touched the ground at 4:25am this morning.
The station is still up there and if you want to see it in your skies, check Heavens Above for times. If there’s none listed at the moment, check again at a later date as the orbit drifts round the planet.