Russian manned spacecraft returns to Earth (UPDATE)
A Russian manned spacecraft has returned to the Earth and landed in Kazakhstan on Sunday, said the Mission Control outside Moscow, Xinhua reported.
The Soyuz TMA-14 spaceship, with two astronauts and one space tourist aboard, departed from the International Space Station (ISS) at 05:07 Moscow time (0107 GMT), and landed at 08:32 Moscow time (0432 GMT) near Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan as expected.
On board the spacecraft were the 19th ISS crew, Russian and U.S. astronauts Gennady Padalka and Michael Barratt, who have been at the orbital station since March, and world's seventh space tourist, Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte.
Local TV broadcast showed all three, extracted from the capsule, held brief talks with ground personnel. Laliberte also greeted people while wearing his classic red clown nose.
Laliberte, founder and CEO of the world-renowned acrobatic group Cirque du Soleil, has spent 11 days and nights at the space station, bringing joy and laughter, as well as raising public awareness of the urgency to protect water resources.
It is reported that Laliberte, with an estimated property worth 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, spent around 35 million dollars for the trip.
A Soyuz TMA-15 spaceship carrying Laliberte and two astronauts on the 21st ISS expedition blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Sept. 30 and docked with the ISS on Oct. 2.
Besides Laliberte, U.S. businessman Dennis Tito, South African Mark Shuttleworth, U.S. millionaire Gregory Olsen, Iranian-born American Anousheh Ansari, U.S. computer games developer Richard Garriott and Hungarian-born U.S. businessman Charles Simonyi have also paid to visit space.