bajkonoer - Three astronauts who stayed for several months in the international space station ISS returned safely to Earth on Thursday morning just after 9.30 am. The American Randy Bresnik, the Russian Sergei Rjazanski and the Italian Paolo Nespoli- were 139 days in space, since the launch on 28 July.
They have contributed to hundreds of scientific experiments, which mainly show how people adapt to life in space. Commander Bresnik repaired a robotic arm on the outside of the space station in early October, an operation that lasted seven hours. In October, the Pope still called the ISS with Nespoli acting as a translator.
In mid-September three fresh astronauts arrived, the Russian Alexander Misoerkin and the Americans Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba. They will remain until February. Next week they will be joined by the American Scott Tingle, the Russian Anton Sjkaplerov and the Japanese Norishege Kanai.
For the 60-year-old Nespoli it was the third trip to the ISS. During his previous visit, in 2011, his mother died. While the funeral was under way, the space station flew over Nespoli over Italy. All work on board was halted as a tribute.