Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut undocked from the International Space Station while inside a Russian Soyuz ferry ship. This happened earlier this week, on Thursday, and the ship flew a lap around the Space Station (the outpost which has been in space for almost 20 years) in order to take some photos and then it made its way towards Earth.
It managed to land exactly where it was supposed to, on the steppe of Kazakhstan, wrapping up a stay in space of approximately 197 days. The ship, officially called the Soyuz MS-08/545 descent module, descended while it was supported by an orange and white parachute. The event was pretty jarring, the touchdown being assisted by rockets and it finally happened at 7:45 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) just southwest of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
Naturally, there were some Russian recovery crews which jumped into action as quickly as possible, storming the charred module in order to help the three astronauts exit the ship. They are Commander Oleg Artemyev, flight engineer Drew Feustel and astronaut Ricky Arnold. They began to re-adapt to gravity after they have spent six and a half months in orbit.
All three space-men appeared to be healthy and in good spirits as they were sent off to recliners in the vicinity so that they could be medically investigated and, of course, so that they could call home to speak with their families and friends. Four hours earlier, at 3:57 a.m., they began to fall back to Earth, as the Soyuz capsule released itself from the space station.
Artemyev performed the loop around the ISS while Feustel took a photo survey of the module that will soon celebrate 20 years of age. A reputable lab, it has been manned by rotating astronaut-cosmonauts crews ever since October 2000.