Top female astronaut among three to land safely after ISS mission

Top female astronaut among three to land safely after ISS mission

The astronauts checked out of the space station on the Soyuz spacecraft hours earlier and landed safely in Kazakhstan shortly after sunrise, around 9:21 pm in the US.

"As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, NASA is reviewing return plans to Houston of Whitson, Fischer and the science samples landing in the Soyuz spacecraft", the space agency said. Medical personnel took her pulse, standard practice. Fischer is coming home after 136 days in space. Yurchikhin and Fischer arrived to the ISS on April 20, 2017, and their mission lasted 135 days.

Whitson has spent the last nine and a half months in Earth orbit on the International Space Station, per the Washington Post, and counting her previous flights, will have logged 665 days in space.

The ISS crew will comprise Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky, NASA astronaut Randolph Bresnik and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

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Whitson's stay was extended past its original termination time in June, when the Russian space agency decided not to launch a replacement cosmonaut at that time.

Whitson and two other astronauts landed in Kazakhstan late Saturday, U.S. time.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female. Also back on solid ground is USA astronaut Jack Fischer after 136 days aloft. Before their departure, command of the ISS was handed over to astronaut Randy Bresnik at a brief ceremony.

We are in your debt for the supreme dedication that you guys have to the human mission of exploration, he told them.

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Peggy Whitson, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer inside Soyuz MS-04 after landing on Earth on September 2, 2017.

Yurchikhin returned to Earth with a total of 673 days in space on his five flights, putting him in seventh place on the all-time endurance list.

"I feel great", she added. "It's one of the most gratifying jobs I've ever had".

"I am working on paying forward some of the advice and mentoring that I received on my journey, in hopes that one day those young people will do the same and look back on a life in which they leapt at the opportunities and broke their own records", she said.

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For the next year or so, the station's six-member crew will feature two cosmonauts and four USOS crew members.

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