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Russian Soyuz space capsule returns to earth

Moscow, Sep 17 (): A Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft landed successfully on a cloudless central Kazakh steppe on Monday morning, after delivering a three-man crew of astronauts after 123 days stay at the International Space Station – ISS.

Two Russians astronauts, Sergei Revin and Gennady Padalka, and an American astronaut Joe Acaba belong to the three-man crew who returned safely to the Earth. The remaining three-member crew, who took off in May, stayed in ISS.

Next month, one more team of three, Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin and Kevin Ford will be joining the remaining team in ISS, which is a $100 billion research centre orbiting at 385 km (240 miles) above Earth and involving 15 countries.

That mission earlier was planned to launch on 15th October, but Vladimir Popovkin, Russian space agency said that the next mission will be postponed by about a week as there is a technical problem with devices on-board the Soyuz.

The capsule which carried the three men, parachuted through blue sky and landed on the Earth in a huge dust cloud as the capsule’s soft landing devices ignited at 8:53 local time (0253 GMT).

The final stage of the landing was shown live on the television network relayed through NASA’s satellite network and Russian mission control centre. The telecast showed last-second firing in the braking rockets of the crew and the rising clouds of smoke and dust as the capsule touched down and parachute collapsed.

NASA commented the landing as “Bull’s eye landing”, as the returned capsule landed on Kazakh steppe surrounded overhead by the approaching search-and-recovery helicopters.

A US space programme’s Twitter feed said after landing at 08:53 local time, all the three men “are safe, healthy and find easy in adjusting to the gravity”. Padalka, one of the astronauts told the attending staffs that he felt great.

Now, the Soyuz spacecraft is the only device for the astronauts to reach ISS since US space shuttle got retirement last year. The United States is depending on Russia to fly its astronauts at a cost of $60 million per person to the country.