A Russian Soyuz TMA-11M space capsule carrying a Japanese astronaut, a veteran Russian cosmonaut and a NASA flight engineer landed on the Earth’s surface, putting an end to their six-month orbital mission. They returned near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on May 14, 2014 after a 188-day stay in space.
The capsule carried Expedition 39 NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio , Japanese spaceflyer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos and they landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 9:58 p.m. EDT Tuesday night (May 13; 7:58 a.m. local time on Wednesday).
The Soyuz undocked from the space station 3 1/2 hours earlier while the two vehicles were above Mongolia, marking the clsoure of Expedition 39 and the advent of Expedition 40 on-board the orbiting lab.
The landing occurred on schedule with the capsule descending under a white parachute.
The landing came a day less than after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Russia wouldn’t continue co-operating with the United States on the 15-nation ISS past 2020, as NASA had hoped.
US has relied on Russian Soyuz capsules to fly to and from the space station after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet. NASA faiths private companies such as Space X to be able to develop rockets and capsules to fly astronauts to the space station within a few years.