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Tito, Soyuz leave ISS
Posted: Sun, May 6, 2001, 12:22 AM ET (0422 GMT)
Soyuz TM-31 docked at ISS California businessman Dennis Tito ended his controversial visit to the International Space Station late Saturday when he and two Russian cosmonauts departed the station in a Soyuz spacecraft. The Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft undocked from ISS at 10:21 pm EDT (0221 GMT) and began an automated series of deorbit maneuvers that will conclude with a landing in Kazakhstan at 1:41 am EDT (0541 GMT) Sunday. Tito and cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin left in the same spacecraft that was used to ferry the Expedition One crew to the station six months ago; the new Soyuz they used to travel to the station was left behind to serve as a lifeboat the station's crew. Despite the controversy that Tito's $20 million trip to the station generated, his stay on the station was relatively uneventful, as he spent him time looking out the station's windows and listening to opera, and occasionally assisted the crew in "menial" tasks, such as setting out food for his crewmates. Tito told reports he enjoyed his stay on the station and plans to spend his time once he returns to Earth convincing government officials and the public that space flight should be opened up to nonprofessionals like himself.
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