Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk, Expedition 21 Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank De Winne undocked their Soyuz spacecraft from the station at 10:56 p.m. EST Monday and landed in Kazakhstan at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, 1:15 p.m. local Kazakhstan time. The Soyuz spacecraft landed upright which helped the search and recovery teams extract the astronauts.
Thirsk, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21 and spent 189 days in space. In 1996, Thirsk flew as a payload specialist astronaut aboard space shuttle mission STS-78, the Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission.
Romanenko, De Winne and Thirsk spent 189 days in space, 186 of those aboard the orbiting International Space Station. The three arrived at the station in May as part of Expedition 20, which marked the start of six-person crew operations aboard the station. Thirsk has now spent 205 days in space between his two flights.
Today, before leaving the International Space Station Thirsk coined an op-ed titled Return to Earth.