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Space trio returns to Earth

Mon., Sept. 17, 2012, midnight

ALMATY, Kazakhstan – An international three-man crew aboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule touched down successfully on the cloudless central Kazakhstan steppe this morning after 123 days at the International Space Station.

NASA’s Joe Acaba and Russian colleagues Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin undocked from the station some 3  1/2 hours before touchdown.

Padalka, who piloted the Soyuz craft back to Earth, was the first to be pulled out of the capsule, which rolled onto its side after coming down softly in the flat Kazakh countryside some 50 miles north of the town of Arkalyk.

“I feel great,” Padalka told attending recovery staff.

Acaba, who followed Revin out of the capsule, gave the thumbs-up sign and said: “It’s good to be home.”


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