Russian-Belgian space crew given solemn welcome at star city

A solemn welcome has been given at Star City to a Russian-Belgian crew of cosmonauts /EP-4/, which completed a 10-day flight aboard the International Space Station /ISS/.

At 12.00 a.m. Moscow time, EP-4 crew members, consisting of the commander, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Zaletin, the first flight engineer, Belgium's astronaut Frank de Winne, and the second flight engineer, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov, as well as Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who traveled to the ISS and returned on the American space shuttle, were greeted with strains of a solemn march played by the Star City orchestra. By tradition, the cosmonauts laid red carnations at the monument to the world's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and went on to the Cosmonauts' Palace.

Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne, whose space mission was his first, said he "likes Russia's tradition of arranging solemn meetings for space pilots after their return to Earth". Frank de Winne noted that "in Belgium he is a second astronaut and it is time to start the same tradition." At the Star City Cosmonauts' Palace, the EP-4 crew was greeted by representatives of Rosaviakosmos, the Russian air force, and space industry enterprises.

The EP-4 crew had delivered to the ISS a new rescue capsule, the Soyuz TMA-1, and carried out about 20 scientific and technological experiments.

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