The full crew of the 6th long-term expedition to the International Space Station - Commander Kenneth Bowersox from the USA, flight engineer Nikolai Budarin from Russia and onboard specialist/flight engineer Donald Pettit from the USA - is leaving for the United States on Wednesday.
"I'm leaving with my US colleagues," Budarin told RIA Novosti. "I'll take a leave with my family as soon as I'm back in Russia after a week of meetings with US space specialists and doctors." Bowersox, on his part, reported that he and Pettit had "practically restored the physical condition" they had had before the flight.
"We'll be relaxing in the USA under medical surveillance. I think this surveillance is going to last to the end of our lives, because man in space-that is, in a new habitat-must be interpreted and used to get scientific information," he said.
On the eve of their departure, the US astronauts told RIA Novosti they were grateful to Russia, a country "one could never forget."
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea