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3 astronauts return from International Space Station

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-11 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut ?leg Kononenko? and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques. (Dmitri Lovetsky / AP)
The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-11 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. The Russian rocket carries U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut ?leg Kononenko? and CSA astronaut David Saint Jacques. (Dmitri Lovetsky / AP)
Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) – Three astronauts have returned to Earth after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergey Prokopyev and Alexander Gerst, of the European Space Agency, has landed on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan. They touched down a minute ahead of schedule at 11:02 a.m. local time Thursday.

The trio has spent 197 days in space. It was the first mission for Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev, while Gerst flew his second to a total of 362 days in orbit, setting the ESA’s flight duration record.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, who have arrived at the station earlier this month, are set to remain in orbit until June.

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