Russian capsule carrying Canadian space tourist leaves ISS

14:10, October 11, 2009      

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Spaceflight participant Guy Lalibertz, wearing a clown nose, hugs Cosmonaut Roman Romanenko during the farewell ceremony aboard the International Space Station in this image from NASA TV Oct. 10, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The Russian Soyuz TMA-14 spaceship carrying Canadian circus tycoon Guy Laliberte has undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and left for Earth, said Russian space officials on Sunday.

The capsule, which undocked from the ISS at 0107 GMT Sunday, was expected to land in Kazakhstan's steppe at around 0430 GMT, said Valery Lyndin, spokesman for the Mission Control.

Laliberte is returning home after staying on the ISS for 11 days, where he finished a mission to call for more attention on water shortage on Earth.

Laliberte entered the orbiting outpost along with American astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev two days after they had launched in the Russian Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft on Sept. 30.

The Canadian billionaire is returning home together with Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and U.S. astronaut Michael Barratt, who had been at the orbital station since March.

Williams and Surayev will live on the station for nearly six months, when they are expected to complete several tasks, including the unloading of three Russian Progress space freighters and a spacewalk to install a Russian MIM-2 scientific module.

"The team's health and mood, as well as those of the space tourist, are good. Now what is important is for everyone to normally go through landing," said Lyndin.

Laliberte, founder and CEO of the world-renowned acrobatic group Cirque du Soleil, joined the mission as the world's seventh space tourist.

It is reported that Laliberte has spent around 50 million U.S. dollars for the trip, 15 million dollars more than his predecessor.

Source: Xinhua
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