Washington: Three crew members from the International Space Station returned to Earth on Monday after 166 days in space.
During their exploration, they made 2,656 orbits around the planet and travelled almost 70.5 million miles.
Expedition 38 crew members Michael Hopkins of NASA, and Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) touched down southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
During Expedition 38, the crew members participated in a variety of research, including protein crystal growth studies and biological studies of plant seedling growth to technology demonstrations that are helping to improve our understanding of how liquid moves in microgravity.
They conducted student experiments that observed celestial events in space. One of several key research focus areas during Expedition 38 was human health management for long duration space travel, as NASA and Roscosmos prepare for two crew members to spend one year aboard the space station in 2015.
During their time aboard the orbiting laboratory, the three men were there to welcome three visiting cargo spacecraft. Two Russian Progress crafts docked to the station, bringing tons of supplies.
In January, Orbital Sciences Corp.`s Cygnus spacecraft loaded with cargo and experiments flew to the space station as part of the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission. This was the company`s first of at least eight cargo delivery flights through 2016 to the station under NASA`s Commercial Resupply Services contract.