Koichi Wakata, Mikhail Tyurin and Rick Mastracchio assisted after their landing (Photo NASA TV)

A few hours ago the Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, the American astronaut Rick Mastracchio and the Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft, which landed safely in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent almost exactly six months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on November 7, 2013. Initially, they were part of Expedition 38, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 39 with Koichi Wakata as commander of the Station.

Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev in front of their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft on March 21 (Photo NASA/Victor Zelentsov)

A few hours ago the spacecraft Soyuz TMA- 12M, which lifted off a little over two days ago from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, has reached the International Space Station carrying three new crew members. The Soyuz was expected to use the fast trajectory regularly used but a sheduled thruster burn didn’t occur and that didn’t allow the spaceship to take the correct route. It was no longer possible to make a course correction so the Soyuz used the backup trajectory, normally used until a couple of years ago, which requires about two days of travel.

Janice Voss on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000 (photo NASA)

American astronaut Janice Voss died of breast cancer. She was born on October 8, 1956 in South Bend, Indiana. As an astronaut she was part of five missions on the Space Shuttles.