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Three astronauts return from International Space Station after 197 days

Russian rescue teams in helicopters and all-terrain vehicles rushed to the landing site to extract the astronauts from the capsule charred by a fiery ride through atmosphere

AP | PTI  |  Moscow 

The space station crew landing on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan (Photo: Reuters)
The space station crew landing on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan (Photo: Reuters)

Three astronauts returned to Earth Thursday after more than six months aboard the Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian and German of the landed on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) southeast of the city of They touched down a minute ahead of schedule at 11:02 a.m. local time (0502 GMT; 12:02 a.m. EST).

The crew radioed that they were feeling fine. Russian rescue teams in helicopters and all-terrain vehicles rushed to the landing site to extract the astronauts from the capsule charred by a fiery ride through atmosphere.

The trio has spent 197 days in space. It was the first mission for and Prokopyev, while Gerst flew his second to a total of 362 days in orbit, setting the ESA's flight duration record.

The rescue crews helped the crew in their balky space suits leave the capsule and conducted an initial medical examination. The astronauts will be taken to for a brief welcome ceremony before being flown to their respective countries for more thorough check-ups.

Anne McClain, and of the Canadian Space Agency, who have arrived at the station earlier this month, are set to remain in orbit until June.

First Published: Thu, December 20 2018. 12:30 IST
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