Russia safely returns 3 cosmonauts from International Space Station

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Three Russian cosmonauts returned safely on Thursday from a mission to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft carrying Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov touched down softly at 4:57 p.m. at a designated site in the steppes of Kazakhstan about 90 miles southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan.

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The trio arrived at the station in March. For Artemyev, the mission marked a third space flight that has brought his total time spent in orbit to 561 days. Matveyev and Korsakov each logged 195 days on their first missions.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev who just returned from a 195-day mission at the International Space Station, is pictured here in Kazakhstan after his return from space on Oct. 4, 2018.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev who just returned from a 195-day mission at the International Space Station, is pictured here in Kazakhstan after his return from space on Oct. 4, 2018.
(MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Soyuz capsule was descending on a big striped red-and-white parachute under clear skies, Artemyev reported to the Mission Control that all members of the crew were feeling fine.

Helicopters support teams landed minutes after to recover the crew. After a quick post-flight medical exam, the cosmonauts will be flown to the Star City cosmonaut training center outside Moscow later in the day.

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The station is currently operated by Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, and the Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

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