The crew that comprised Expedition 34 to the International Space Station (ISS) has safely returned to Earth via a Russian Soyuz descent module. They completed their mission on the Kazakhstan Steppes at 10:10 p.m. CDT (9:10 a.m. March 16 local time). The landing punctuated a successful mission which lasted approximately four-and-a-half months.
With the departure of Expedition 34’s Commander and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, as well as Russian flight engineers Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitsky from the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Expedition 35 mission got underway. Expedition 35 is led by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the orbiting outpost. Hadfield is joined by Tom Marshburn of NASA and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko. They will be the station’s only residents until later this month, when they will be joined by three new crew members.
Ford, Tarelkin, and Novitsky landed northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. During their tenure on the orbiting laboratory, they orbited the Earth 2,304 times, which means that they traveled nearly 61 million miles. Some of the ISS’s components have been on-orbit since 1998. Assembly of the U.S. elements of the station was completed in 2011.Missions » ISS »