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Russian Capsule Brings Three Crew Members Back to Earth

Russian Spacecraft Lands in Kazakhstan 2011 (Bill Ingalss/NASA Getty)

A Russian space capsule carrying a three-man multinational crew landed safely Sunday, July 1, on the southern steppes of Kazakhstan ending their 191-day mission to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz capsule performed a perfect upright textbook landing and Russian space officials quickly surrounded the space craft and erected ladders to begin pulling the crew members out.

Aboard the Soyuz space capsule were NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, Russia’s Oleg Kononenko and Dutchman Andre Kulpers.

Recovery helicopters zeroed in on the capsule Sunday on the vast uncultivated Russian land mass.

Just before impact, soft landing rockets fire, creating big plumes of smoke. Watch video of the landing wrapping up ISS Mission 31 from NASA’s website.

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