NASA, Russian astronauts land in Kazakh steppe
Almaty (Kazakhstan): NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts has landed safely in the snowy expanses of central Kazakhstan after spending five months on the International Space Station.
The Soyuz capsule carrying Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka landed at 1:53 p.m. (01:23 IST) yesterday, about 50 kilometers from the northern Kazakh city of Arkalyk.
Kelly returns to earth just as his twin brother Mark, husband of wounded congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, prepares to take part in the US space shuttle Endeavour`s final mission in April. Scott Kelly was shown in a NASA photo wearing a blue wristband with a peace sign, a heart and the name "Gabby."
The capsule came back to harsh conditions, including a stiff wind that blew it on its side and rolled it 22 meters (25 yards) from its touchdown point through fresh snow.
Rob Navias, a spokesman for the US space agency NASA on the scene, described conditions as "like a scene from the North Pole."
The space travellers were bundled into blankets after being pulled from the capsule, then placed in reclining stretchers as they slowly acclimated to the planet`s gravity after months of weightlessness.
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