Padalka, who trained Fincke on a 2004 mission to the station, praised his former "pupil" with leaving the space station in excellent shape for the station's Expedition 19, ITAR-Tass reported.
Fincke and Russian Yuri Lonchakov have been in orbit on the station since last October. They return to Earth April 8 with space tourist Charles Simonyi, who arrived aboard the space station last week with Padalka.
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