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Soyuz spacecraft brings back three ISS crew members

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WASHINGTON (BNS): A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three crew members from the International Space Station (ISS) touched down Earth safely Wednesday.

The Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft arrived at a site northeast of the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan at 0754 GMT brining back Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, and US astronaut Scott Kelly.

Working in frigid temperatures, Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz and adjust to gravity, NASA said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the three-member Expedition 26 team had undocked from the ISS’s Poisk module at 04:27 GMT.

The crew, launched to the ISS on board the newly modernised and digitalised Soyuz TMA-M on October 8, 2010, spent 159 days at the orbital laboratory. They had joined the Expedition 25 members already present at the space station.

During the mission, the Expedition 25 and 26 crew members worked on more than 150 microgravity experiments in human research; biology and biotechnology; physical and materials sciences; technology development; and Earth and space sciences.

A new trio of Expedition 27 flight engineers, NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev, are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 29, the US space agency said.

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