One of several Russian helicopters flown to the landing site. It looks cold... BRRR.
With the landing of the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft in Kazakhstan this morning, Expedition 22 of the ISS has come to a successful end. Jeff Williams and Max Suraev arrived safe and sound.
Actually they arrived in the freezing steppes in Winter. NASA's photo of the day showed a capsule landing in a giant frozen field of snow. Watching the Russian camera footage, one really gets a feel of how different our two space programs really are. The Russian program works, and works well, but at times it almost seems comical or amateurish. Mostly this is because the Russian cameraman did not do a good job. As the space voyagers were carried from their capsule to waiting chairs, the camera view constantly cut off people's heads, he could not for the life of him think of getting both crewmen in the same view, and at times didn't even bother to aim the camera at anything other than the ground- and upside down.
Get used to this view, folks... Once the shuttle retires and all we have left are overpriced trips on the Russian rockets, we won't see our high definition, good quality camerawork that we are used to. We'll be dependent on landing our astronauts in frozen or desolate wastes, with poor Russian camerawork, and it will be a long time until we return to the American way.
ISS in orbit. View of the Central Truss and solar panels.
Meanwhile, ISS Expedition 23 begins with the Soyuz departure. The change of command ceremony was held yesterday, and Russian Commander Oleg Kotov takes over. There are currently three ISS members, and they will be joined by three more on April 4. The Expedition 23 expansion crew will arrive by a Russian Soyuz. The shuttle Discovery will launch to the ISS on April 5th to bring up more equipment.