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Soyuz lands safely
Posted: Tue, Oct 28, 2003, 2:22 PM ET (1922 GMT)
Soyuz TMA-2 landing A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts safely landed in Kazakhstan late Monday although not without an apparent problem during undocking from the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-2 capsule touched down near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan at approximately 9:40 pm EST Monday (0240 GMT Tuesday). Unlike the Soyuz TMA-1 landing in May, which touched down nearly 500 kilometers off course because of a computer malfunction in the spacecraft, the TMA-2 spacecraft landed nearly exactly on target, with one NASA spokesman calling it a "dream landing." The TMA-2 carried the ISS Expedition Seven crew of Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko, as well as ESA astronaut Pedro Duque, who launched nine days earlier on the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft. However, Russian officials said that one of the three inadvertently pressed the wrong button while preparing the spacecraft for undocking, causing a Soyuz engine to fire briefly, rotating the station 25 degrees. The stationís attitude was corrected, although it required the use of a "lot of fuel", according to RIA Novosti. Also, helicopters carrying the crew back to the Kazakh capital of Astana were forced to turn back to Arkalyk briefly before poor weather conditions improved.
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