Russian capsule returns to Earth


A Russian Soyuz capsule landed on the Kazakh steppe today to deliver a trio of astronauts from a four-month stint on the International Space Station.

The parachuted capsule, carrying Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revinm, and US astronaut Joseph Acaba, touched down in a cloud of dust as its soft landing engines ignited at 8.53am local time.

"Bull's eye landing," a Nasa TV commentator said as the capsule lay on its side in the Kazakh steppe circled overhead by approaching search-and-recovery helicopters.

Veteran mission commander Padalka, who has logged 711 days in orbit to make him the world's fourth-most experienced astronaut, was the first out of the cramped descent capsule.

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