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.

Postcard celebrating Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934 in the village of Klushino, in the then USSR. On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin made ​​the first historic human journey into space in the Vostok 1 spacecraft orbiting the Earth. On March 27, 1968 Yuri Gagarin died when the MiG-15UTI he was flying on crashed to the ground.

Yuri Gagarin received many honors during his life and many other were posthumous. The posthumous tributes have been made over the years in important moments such as the first landing of humans on the Moon and the 50th anniversary of his flight. Even today, flying in space carries risks, in 1961 a it was a truly amazing achievement. For this reason, despite the Cold War, Yuri Gagarin was always highly respect beyond ideology.

Neil Armstrong poses in his space suit as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission (Photo NASA)

Yesterday, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, passed away. Neil Alden Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. On July 21 he became the first man to walk on the moon, a milestone in the history of mankind.

Sally Ride in the Space Shuttle Challenger on June 24 1983 (Photo NASA)

Yesterday Sally Ride, the first American woman to have gone into space, passed away. She was the first American woman to travel in space being in two Space Shuttle missions. She helped change a rather sexist perceptions in the world of science and astronautics.