Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut have returned to Earth after a six-month stay on board the International Space Station.
Former station commander Steve Swanson and cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev came back in the same Soyuz capsule that took them up in March.
“A pinpoint touchdown”, said a NASA mission commentator of the landing in Kazakhstan.
During their time on board the International Space Station, the returning crew tackled a record number of science experiments, upgraded “Robonaut” – the station’s humanoid robot – and repaired broken equipment.
“We did a lot of maintenance, which is good and bad,” Swanson said. “I love doing maintenance, but it means things broke.”
There were also a couple of space walks.
New station commander Max Suraev remains aboard the orbital outpost along with NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and the European Space Agency’s Alexander Gerst.
Three new crew members, including the first Russian woman to serve on the station, are due to launch later this month.
“Getting three new faces up here will be lots of fun,” Wiseman said in an inflight interview.