One month after a rocket failure postponed its original return, three astronauts are slated to fly back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS).
The three astronauts gave control of the ISS over to Gennady Padalka, a Russian cosmonaut, after more than 200 days in space.
The trio includes Samantha Cristoforetti, the current record holder for female astronaut who has spent the most time in space on a single mission. Following the month long delay,Cristoforetti has beat her own record on June 6, outlasting her old time of 194 days. The first espresso machine that is specially designed for use in space is also attributed to her.
Their Soyuz spacecraft was originally due to return a month ago, but their voyage was halted by a failure of a supply spaceship. The unmanned Progress M-27M malfunctioned and burned as it re-entered the Earth.
Soyuz is scheduled to unberth from the ISS at 11:20 BST where it will land in Kazakhstan approximately three hours later. According to reports, the spacecraft’s hatch closed at 08:04 BST.
du As soon as Soyuz undocks, Expedition 44 shall formally take off. It will be led by cosmonaut Padalka and his crew composed of US astronaut Scott Kelly and another Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.
Kelly and Kornienko are “two-and-a-half months into a year-long tour of duty on the ISS”, setting their own record for the “(would- be) longest, continuous stay” on board the spacecraft. They shall be joined by three more astronauts in July.
Rephrased from: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33090402
e to arrive at the International Space Station in July