back to article 166 days later: Space Station astronauts return to Earth

Three 'nauts have landed safely and on time in Kazakhstan despite bad weather on the ground, ending their Christmas stint on the International Space Station. Youtube Video One NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts touched down in the wee hours of the morning on the snowy steppes of central Kazakhstan on schedule, despite …

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Pint

Welcome back to earth!

Bet they would like a quick vodka to warm up in those chilly temperatures.

I spotted the ISS passing over last Saturday during an outreach activity of the university's observatory, and it never ceases to amaze me to think that there are people on that man-made dot in space.

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Re: that man-made dot in space

http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

You can sign up for text alerts when it will pass overhead near your location. Visible to naked eye as a dim*, moving "star" before dawn or after sunset.

* relative brightness affected heavily by the amount of light pollution near you. I live on the outskirts of a medium-sized city with substantial light pollution and can easily make out the moving dot.

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Re: that man-made dot in space

"Dim, moving star"?

Must disagree there! I also signed up for the alerts and have seen it loads of times here in SE UK and on every occasion it's been extremely bright. Goes across very rapidly, so have to be quick! Must just have been lucky that it reflected so much light.

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Re: that man-made dot in space

I remember going out in 2000 to see it go overhead with my mum (I mean I was with my mum, she wasn't on board). She'd seen the original Sputnik go overhead in the late (19)50s, but seemed oddly unimpressed by the dim ISS that went across (BUT THERE'S PEOPLE ON THAT ONE MUM!!!)!

14 years on and it has a tonne more solar panels and so can be VERY reflective (and I love it when it just disappears mid flight as it enters the Earth's shadow) outshining Jupiter at even positive magnitudes. Well worth a look. The http://www.heavens-above.com/ site has magnitude estimates as well as the info on the NASA site so you can see if it's worth staying up to watch :)

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Re: Welcome back to earth!

I saw a good pass a few weeks ago, and the ISS was being trailed (about three finger widths behind) by a much dimmer source which I'm pretty sure was the Cygnus freighter (CRS Orb-1) on it's way to burning up in the atmosphere.

el Reg needs a space related icon.

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Gravity

I bet their journey back wasn't as exciting as Sandra Bullock's ??

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Re: Gravity

They probably did not land anywhere in the Ukraine, let alone Crimea.

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Taking the air?

I don't think "taking the air" really works as a metaphor for a space walk

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Pint

Re: Taking the air?

I think it works... after all they do take some air along with them ;)

No compressed air bottle icon, so I'll use the next most important thing...

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Soyuz return to earth explained

Cool video here that explains how the Soyuz, undocks, de-orbits and safely returns to earth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l7MM9yoxII

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they are just bringing the prostitutes back before channel 4 does its live lap of the earth on sunday

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