Soyuz TM-34 had a "very hard" landing

The landing of Soyuz TM-34 spaceship last Sunday was "very hard", said crew commander Sergei Zaletin at a briefing in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre on Monday. "It was nighttime, the wind was strong, we could not see the Earth approaching through the window. Therefore, we could not group properly, when the powder system of shock neutralisation acted. The shock was sensible," said Yury Lonchakov, the crew's second flight engineer.

"But, as you can see, we endured the landing OK, we feel and look good," added Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne, the first flight engineer.

Before the crew responded journalists' questions' they were met and congratulated by His Majesty Prince Philip of Belgium. The honorary guest had arrived in Russia to greet the crew and attended the press-conference together with the Belgian Ambassador.

The astronauts looked vigorous indeed, but on looking at their pale faces displaying signs of fatigue one could guess they had had to work hard during the 10 days of the flight.

The astronauts said they were satisfied with the flight, for they had delivered Soyuz TMA-1, a new safety space vehicle, to the station, testing it during the flight. They had carried out almost all of the planned experiments on board the station. "Possibly, within two or three weeks scientists could estimate our work and define the results of the experiments," Frank de Winne said. He said he was impressed by shooting the process of burning in experimental boxes in the weightlessness."

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