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Space station crew returns safely, lands in Kazakhstan on Soyuz capsule
Central Asia | science | 10:22, 11 April 2017 | 2410

AKIPRESS.COM - Three space fliers have safely touched down on Earth after almost six months aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko all arrived at the station together for Expedition 49/50 mission in October 2016, and they reached solid ground on April 10 at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT) in Kazakhstan, reports Space.com.

They spent 173 days in space during their flight.

"It was a textbook touchdown," NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said during live NASA TV commentary after the landing. "The Soyuz was pulled by its main parachute onto its side, but the crew was quickly extracted and are in good shape."

Those monitoring the launch at Mission Control, and on NASA TV, had "some of the most spectacular video we've ever seen" of the capsule's journey down and landing on the cloudless steppe, Navias said — about 14 minutes of footage, from just after the chutes deployed to touchdown.

Kimbrough transferred command of the space station to NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson yesterday (April 9) before the trio left, making her the first woman to command the space station twice. (She was also the space station's first female commander, in 2008.)

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