Billionaut Lands Safely After 13-Day Working Vacation

Russian Spacecraft Carrying Billionaire Space Tourist Lands Safely

A billionaire space tourist and two professional astronauts returned safely to Earth Wednesday aboard a Russian spacecraft, bringing a successful end to their respective missions to the International Space Station.

American space tourist Charles Simonyi and the station’s returning Expedition 18 crew touched down on the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 3:16 a.m. EDT (0716 GMT), their Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft parachuting to a pinpoint landing.

The flawless landing marked the end of a smooth flight for Simonyi, the world’s first repeat space tourist, who returned to Earth alongside the station’s Expedition 18 commander Michael Fincke of NASA and Russian flight engineer Yury Lonchakov. It was early afternoon Local Time at their landing site.

“It was a great trip, thank you everyone,” Simonyi, 60, said just before leaving the space station late Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to get home to my wife, but it was a fantastic trip.”

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