MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz capsule carrying two Russians and an American touched down on Earth Wednesday after undocking from the International Space Station following 166 days in space.
NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin landed safely at 8:58 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan.
The capsule undocked from the space station on Tuesday for a flight to Earth that took just over three hours before a punctual landing. The three men had blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on March 29.
Live NASA footage showed the three men emerging from the capsule on what was an unusually sunny September day on the Kazakh steppe. Each of the men was carried to reclining chairs, where they spent several minutes in order to acclimatize to Earth's gravity.
A NASA TV commentator said that crew members Misurkin and Cassidy would be taken to a medical center to undergo various tests that could provide information for future flights. Vinogradov, at 60 the oldest human ever to land in a Soyuz vehicle, would not be taking part in the same experiments.
The Soyuz is the only means for international astronauts to reach the orbiting laboratory since the decommissioning of the U.S. shuttle fleet in 2011.
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