3 Russian cosmonauts return safely from Intl Space Station

3 Russian cosmonauts return safely from Intl Space Station

Three Russian cosmonauts returned safely from a mission to the International Space Station

MOSCOW — Three Russian cosmonauts returned safely on Thursday from a mission to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft carrying Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov touched down softly at 4:57 p.m. (1057 GMT) at a designated site in the steppes of Kazakstan about 150 kilometers (about 90 miles) southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan.

The trio arrived at the station in March. For Artemyev, the mission marked a third space flight that has brought his total time spent in orbit to 561 days. Matveyev and Korsakov each logged 195 days on their first missions.

As the Soyuz capsule was descending on a big striped red-and-white parachute under clear skies, Artemyev reported to the Mission Control that all members of the crew were feeling fine.

Helicopters support teams landed minutes after to recover the crew. After a quick post-flight medical exam, the cosmonauts will be flown to the Star City cosmonaut training center outside Moscow later in the day.

The station is currently operated by Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, and the Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

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