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Three International Space Station astronauts return safely to Earth

Published 11/12/2015

A search and rescue team works on the site of landing of the Soyuz TMA-17M capsule with the International Space Station crew near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Andrey Shelepin/Pool Photo via AP)
A search and rescue team works on the site of landing of the Soyuz TMA-17M capsule with the International Space Station crew near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Andrey Shelepin/Pool Photo via AP)
International Space Station crew member Kimiya Yui of Japan gestures after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Andrey Shelepin/Pool Photo via AP)
Ground personnel carry International Space Station crew member U.S. space agency's Kjell Lindgren after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Andrey Shelepin/Pool Photo via AP)
International Space Station crew member U.S. space agency's Kjell Lindgren smiles after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Andrey Shelepin/Pool Photo via AP)
Three crew members remain on the International Space Station (Nasa/PA)

A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in Kazakhstan, Nasa said.

Nasa's Kjell Lindgren, Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui of Japan returned to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-17M capsule after 141 days in space.

They touched down on schedule north east of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Mr Kononenko reported to Russian Mission Control that the crew was feeling fine as the capsule descended on parachute before landing softly in darkness in the wind-swept snowy steppes.

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of Nasa and crewmates Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos remain on the station. They will be joined by three new crew members next Tuesday, including British astronaut Tim Peake.

Russian rescue teams in four helicopters arrived quickly at the landing site to help the crew get out of the capsule, which rested on its side in the snow.

Because of the cold temperature and strong wind, the crew was quickly flown to Dzhezkazgan after a brief inspection by doctors. In better weather, the crew undergoes a post-flight medical check-up in a tent at the landing site.

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