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ISS crew returns to Earth


16:26, March 16, 2013

MOSCOW, March 16 (Xinhua) -- A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts of the International Space Station (ISS) returned safely to the Earth on Saturday, said Russia's Mission Control Center.

The descent module of the Soyuz TMA-06M landed near Kazakhstan's Arkalyk town at 07:06 a.m. Moscow time (0306 GMT), said the center.

Rescue teams started search and evacuation immediately after the landing. The astronauts were said to be in good shape.

The three crew members -- U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin -- had spent more than 143 days in space.

The landing of the spacecraft was postponed by a day owing to bad weather.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took over the command of the new ISS crew which also included Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and U.S. astronaut Thomas Mashburn, said Russia's space agency Roscosmos.

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