2008-04-20 - ISS crew lands in KazhakstaISS crew returns to Earth
Soyuz landet in Kasachstan<br /> NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station, returned to Earth at approximately 4:30 a.m. EDT Saturday, ending a mission during which she conducted five spacewalks and set a new record in American spaceflight.
Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, members of the 16th crew to live and work aboard the station, safely landed their Soyuz spacecraft in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi also returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz. The landing was approximately 295 miles from the expected landing site, delaying the recovery forces' arrival to the spacecraft by approximately 45 minutes. Whitson, 48, has accumulated more time in space than any U.S. astronaut in history. She and Malenchenko, who launched to the station on Oct. 10, 2007, spent 192 days in space. This was Whitson's second flight to the station. She served almost 185 days as a flight engineer on the Expedition 5 crew, which launched June 5, 2002, and returned to Earth Dec. 7, 2002. Whitson has totaled 377 days in space during two missions. On April 16, she surpassed the 374-day record set by astronaut Mike Foale during his six flights. The Expedition 16 crew members undocked their Soyuz spacecraft from the station at 1:06 a.m. The deorbit burn to slow the Soyuz and begin its descent toward the Earth began at 3:40 a.m.