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Expedition 52 crew lands safely in Kazakhstan

Expedition 52 crew lands safely in Kazakhstan

U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson has returned to Earth after a record-breaking mission.

She said that, apart from the last week, her time in space flew by but that she missed pizza and her husband, fellow biochemist Clarence Sams. "Welcome back, Peggy", a member of the recovery team told her.

All three appeared well as they were tended to by a greeting party on Earth before being carried in chairs to a medical tent. All three appeared relaxed and in good health, smiling and chatting with support crews under a clear morning sky. Stepping in to help out, the European Space Agency volunteered to fly the USA astronauts to Cologne, Germany, where the NASA jet will meet them for the long flight back to storm-ravaged Houston. "Since then, there's been historic rainfall that they say Houston hasn't seen in a millennium".

The Mission Control Center reports that the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft has undocked from the International Space Station with three crew members on board.

Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA float through the Harmony module of the International Space Station.

Upon her return, Whitson will have racked up 665 days in space in her career, more than any other American astronaut. Yurchikhin who landed along with her, is seventh on the list, logging a total of 673 days in space.

She became the world's oldest spacewoman, at age 57, and the most experienced female spacewalker, with 10, following her launch last November. During her expeditions, she continually asked for more scientific research to do.

On Friday, Yurchikhin will hand over station command to NASA's Randy Bresnik.

Soyuz MS-04 crew patch.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson is closing out a space streak unmatched by any other American.

Three men remain at the space station, an American, a Russian and an Italian.

"I honestly do think that it is critical that we are continuously breaking records, because that represents us moving forward in exploration", she said.

"I am not sure what the future holds for me personally, but I envision myself continuing to work on spaceflight programs".

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