NASA astronaut Piggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are retured back to the land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 pm EDT on Saturday after.
Ms Whitson, 57, has set a number of records with this mission - she is the oldest spacewoman and the most experienced spacewalker, with 10 spacewalks, including four on this mission. Her mission began in November and lasted 288 days.
On the eve of her landing, Whitson said she's craving pizza â€” and flush toilets. "Trust me, you don't want to know the details," she said via email in response to questions from the Associated Press. A formal news conference was canceled earlier in the week because of the storm, so email responses were the next-best thing.
She said her home in Houston is fine, but many friends and co-workers were not as fortunate. Johnson Space Center in Houston remains closed until Tuesday except for essential personnel, such as those staffing Mission Control for the space station. She said the team was sleeping on cots at the space center at one point.
"Any trepidations I might have about returning in the aftermath of a hurricane are entirely eclipsed by the all those folks keeping our mission going," she said.Â
Peggy Whitson has spent a total of 665 days in space during her career, more than any other American astronaut.
Ms Whitson, a biochemist, had been due to return to Earth in June but when an extra place opened up, she couldn't resist another three months.
While on the ISS, about 250 miles above Earth, the biochemist spent much of her time on experiments, including studies of cancerous lung tissue and bone cells.
She said that, apart from the last week, her time in space flew by but that she missed pizza and her husband, fellow biochemist Clarence Sams.
Yurchikhin has spent 673 days in space during five missions, while Fisher has spent 136 days.
Whitson broke the U.S. record of 534 cumulative days in orbit during the mission.
Seven Russian men have completed more time in space. The record-holder is Gennady Padalka, with 878 days in orbit.
Cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency remain aboard the ISS.
The three astronauts had an emotional farewell from the International Space Station, embracing the three colleagues they were leaving behind before they got into the Soyuz.
Mr Yurchikhin had patted the inside of the station before getting into the capsule for the final time.
The station's new commander Randy Bresnik said that, with their departure, the outpost was losing 1,474 days of spaceflight experience- four years and two weeks, he added.
"We are in your debt for the supreme dedication that you guys have to the human mission of exploration," he told them.