April 8, 2006

Brazil astronaut, Russia-US crew return to Earth

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Brazil's first astronaut landed safely
in the Kazakh steppe on Sunday, returning from a 10-day trip in
space with a Russian-U.S. crew that had spent six months on
board the International Space Station, mission control said.

"Soyuz has made a soft landing," a mission control official
in Moscow said after the small Soyuz capsule, charred black
from re-entry into the atmosphere, bumped down in northern
Kazakhstan's steppe.

Marcos Pontes, a 43-year-old Brazilian Air Force pilot,
fulfilled a childhood dream in becoming the first Brazilian in
space. He returned to Earth with American Bill McArthur and
Russian Valery Tokarev on board Soyuz.