MOSCOW – A Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft has safely brought three astronauts back to Earth in central Asia from the International Space Station, the Russian Federal Space Agency’s mission control said on Thursday.
A capsule carrying Russian cosmonaut, Commander Sergey Ryazansky, NASA’s Randolph Bresnik and the European Space Agency’s Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli touched down some 140-kilometers (86-miles) southeast of Jezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.
The safe landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan brought the trio’s 139-day space mission to a close.
It had been the second space sortie for Ryanzansky and Bresnik, and the third for veteran Nespoli.
According to the Russian Space Agency, the mission went according to plan and touchdown was completed just after 8.30 am local time.
Three astronauts remained onboard the ISS are Russian Commander Alexandr Misurkin and NASA’s Americans Mark Vande and Joseph Acaba.
They are to be joined by Russian cosmonaut Anton Skaplerov, NASA’s Scott Tingle and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai who are set to launch in the Soyuz MS-07 on Sunday.
The ISS orbits at between 401 and 408-km above the surface of the Earth, traveling at a rate of 27,000-kph (16,777-mph) and completes its orbit in just over one-and-a-half hours.