by Brooks Hays
Astana, Kazakhstan (UPI) Nov 10, 2014
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman returned to Earth Sunday night after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station. He and his Expedition 41 companions, Russian Maxim Suraev and German Alexander Gerst, touched down safely in Kazakhstan at 10:58 p.m. EST (Monday morning in Kazakhstan).
The descent of their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft was slowed by a series of parachutes, enabling (with the help of gravity) the return capsule to down-shift from roughly 17,000 mph to zero over the course of the three-hour return leg.
What a ride it has been. 166 days in #space, time for me @astro_alex @msuraev to head home. pic.twitter.com/p5VMwBZlfb— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) November 9, 2014
During his 165 days aboard the space station, Wiseman conducted field research and executed a variety of experiments. But the former Naval aviator and test pilot will likely be most remembered for the his adept photographic touch. The Maryland native, who will celebrate his 39th birthday Tuesday, documented his time aboard ISS with dozens of stunning photographs. All were shared with a growing social media following via Twitter.
#Sunset casts impossibly long shadows across #Earth pic.twitter.com/WU8FTOKmxA— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) November 4, 2014
"I think the astronauts have always wanted to share their journey with as many people as possible. And I think Apollo, with the tools they had, they did a phenomenal job," Wiseman told TIME in an interview earlier this year. "We're just lucky to live in this day where, when I take a photograph with a camera ... we can e-mail it straight into our Twitter feeds, and it just makes it so much easier to share this experience."
Floating water is so much fun to play with. #H2Omorphing #SpaceVine https://t.co/DPe4b0yhYz— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) November 8, 2014
The departure of Wiseman, Gerst and Suraev leaves the three astronauts of Expedition 42 alone on ISS. But they will be joined by three new astronauts later this month, delivered via Russia's Soyuz rocket.
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