Crew of sixth long-term expedition to ISS leaves for USA Wednesday

The crew of the sixth long-term expedition to the International Space Station leaves for the USA on May 21st with its full complement, crewmember Nikolai Budarin stated at a press conference on Monday following the ceremonial welcome in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in the Star City.

"I will leave together with my American colleagues Kenneth Bowersox and Donald Pettit," he pointed out. "After a week's meeting with US space experts and doctors I will return to Russia and go on holiday with my family." Mr. Budarin refused to report on his further professional plans. "I want to have a rest and then, if I am offered to undertake a new space flight, I will be glad to carry it out," he said.

When touching upon his post-flight condition, US astronaut Kenneth Bowersox told a RIA Novosti correspondent that he and Donald Pettit "had almost restored the physical state they had had before the flight." "We will continue our rest in the USA under a medical observation," he said. "I believe medical observations will continue till the end of my life, for a man's every stay in a new environment like space is very important for studies and scientific research." When answering the RIA Novosti correspondent's question on whether he had encountered anything unexpected, which his pre-flight training on the Earth had not included, US astronaut Donald Pettit pointed out that nature had such imagination that not a single man had, so every new flight would surprise him with endless opportunities.

"I was so amazed by the newness of my feelings and thoughts, that I have written verses about it," the US astronaut said. He recited them to those present at the ceremonial welcome.

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