Six rescue vehicles and 15 aircraft will take part in an operation to locate and recover a landing pod with astronauts returning from the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, a Russian air navigation official said.
A space capsule carrying Russian Maxim Surayev and American Jeff Williams from ISS Expedition 22 is expected to land in Kazakhstan at 14.23 Moscow time [10.23 GMT].
"We will deploy three An-12 and An-24 planes, 12 Mi-8 helicopters and six search-and-rescue vehicles during the return of the Soyuz TMA-16's landing pod to Earth on Thursday," said Andrei Pryanishnikov, a spokesman for Russia's Air Navigation Service.
The official said a total of 12 possible landing zones have been prepared in Russia and other countries to ensure the timely and efficient rescue of the astronauts returning to Earth.
Surayev and Williams spent six month on board the orbital station.
Work in orbit will continue with Russian Oleg Kotov, Japanese Soichi Noguchi and American Timothy Creamer, until they are joined by Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, as well as American Tracy Caldwell, who are scheduled to launch to the ISS on a Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft on April 2.
MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti)