A joint US, Russian and Japanese crew have landed back on earth after leaving the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.
It brings to an end a four-month mission that included the first use of a DNA sequencer in space as well as the installation of a parking bay for upcoming commercial space taxis.
Station Commander Anatoly Ivanishin from the Russian space agency, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan’s Takuya Onishi left just after midnight GMT.
They made a parachute landing in Kazakhstan just before 4am GMT.
Who is in charge now?
Newly-arrived US astronaut Shane Kimbrough now has command of the 100 billion dollar orbiting research lab.
He reached the ISS on October 21, accompanied by Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko.
The trio will be on their own until next month, when another three crew members are due to reach the ISS.
The ISS – did you know?
- Is a 15-nation project
- Operates 418 km above the Earth
What they are saying
“I am kind of reluctant to close the hatch,” – Anatoly Ivanishin, during the change-of-command ceremony.
“We are sorry we are only here a week with you, you guys have trained us well, though,” – new ISS commander Shane Kimbrough told the departing crew.