Poor Weather Delays Return of Space Station Astronauts


The return to earth of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut from the International Space Station was delayed Friday due to harsh conditions at the Kazakhstan landing site, the Russian space agency said.

The return was postponed until Saturday due to a snow storm and icy conditions which would hamper rescue helicopters deployed at such Soyuz landings.

"Due to the bad weather conditions in the Soyuz capsule landing zone, it has been decided to postpone the landing until March 16," the Roscosmos agency said on its website.

Russians Oleg Novitskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin and their U.S. colleague Kevin Ford were originally due to land on the Kazakhstan steppes in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Interfax news agency reported that the landing has been rescheduled for 0306 GMT on Saturday, but that a definitive decision would be made overnight Friday with regard to the weather forecast.

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