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Soyuz capsule 'nauts touch down safely

Kazakhstan landing for ISS crew

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Alexander Kaleri, Scott Kelly and Oleg Skripochka returned safely from the International Space Station this morning when their Soyuz TMA-01M capsule touched down on the "frigid" Kazakhstan steppe at 07:54 GMT.

The trio launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 8 October, and clocked up 159 days in space, 157 of them aboard the ISS, as members of the Expedition 25 and 26 crews.

NASA notes that its own Scott Kelly has now "logged more than 180 days in space", while cosmonaut Kaleri "has more than 770". Skripochka was on his first space mission.

Up on the ISS, Dmitry Kondratyev is now in command of Expedition 27. NASA 'naut Catherine Coleman and the ESA's Paolo Nespoli are the other two crew members aloft awaiting the arrival of cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev, plus astronaut Ronald Garan.

The launch of the TMA-21 due to carry the three to the orbiting outpost was postponed earlier this week due to "technical problems". It's been rescheduled for "no earlier than March 29". ®

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