Russian Soyuz returns from space station mission
Korolyov: A Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts on board landed on the steppe of Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Russia`s Mission Control said.
Russian Oleg Kotov, NASA`s Timothy Creamer and Japan`s Soichi Noguchi arrived near the town of Zhezkazgan as planned, at 0725 Moscow time (0325 GMT), an announcer at Mission Control outside Moscow said.
"There has been a soft landing," the announcer at Mission Control outside Moscow said.
"There has been a soft landing," the announcer said to applause from observers in the gold-lined, Soviet-era Mission Control building.
The trio of astronauts, who make up Russian Expedition 23 and are commanded by Kotov, left Earth in December of last year for the $100 billion, 16-nation International Space Station (ISS).
In April, US astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko docked with the ISS, replacing a Russian-US duo who returned to Earth in March.
Russia will ferry all crews to the ISS aboard its single-use Soyuz spaceships after the US space agency NASA mothballs its fleet by the end of this year.
Earlier this year, Russia announced a halt to space tourism to free capacity for ISS flights. It has said it plans to double the number of launches to four this year as permanent crews of professionals aboard the expanded ISS are set to rise to six.
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