By Becca DeGregorio, Science Tuesday Editor
While the rest of us bathed in the sun, did the tourism thing and dabbled in internship culture this summer, two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut waited out their final months of work approximately 220 miles above the Earth’s surface.
For their homecoming, the crew of three arrived in style. Out of a clear, blue sky, a Russian Soyuz capsule containing the ‘nauts parachuted down. As they stepped out, smiles and chatter filled the site as Swanson declared that “[they] had a lot of fun,” according to USA Today.
Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev, along with three other men still aboard the ISS, were shipped off into space last March with full schedules on hand.
As noted in Reuters, the crew completed a record number of scientific experiments and also found time for space walking, repairing equipment and upgrading the station’s prototype humanoid robot.
The maintenance work was somewhat of a double-edged sword. In an interview with Reuters, Swanson said it was good to get the work done but it would have been better to not see anything broken upon arrival.
And when one shift ends another begins. In an effort to continually strive for a quality station, three newcomers are expected to fill the present void on the ISS: Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova. The new crew is expected to launch Sept. 25.
In the end, it was really the camaraderie between the astronauts that was really admirable, evidenced in the slew of tweets from Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut still on the ISS. They were all cute, heartfelt and out of this world, but one tweet in particular summed it all up:
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) September 10, 2014