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Three Astronauts Land In Kazakhstan After Delayed Return From ISS

A Russian Soyuz capsule returned three people to Earth on June 11 after a mishap with the spacecraft earlier this week affected the position of the orbiting International Space Station (ISS.)

Space officials said the Soyuz landed in Kazakhstan after a three-and-and-a-half-hour flight.

Russian and U.S. space officials earlier said the ISS had stabilized its position after being slightly knocked off course on June 9. The mishap did not change the planned day of departure.

Returning to Earth were American Terry Virts, Russian Anton Shkaplerov, and Italian Samantha Cristoforetti.

The three have spent 199 days in space.

The delayed return means that Cristoforetti has broken the record for the longest single stay by a woman in space.

Soyuz offers the only working transport for astronauts and cosmonauts to and from the space station. NASA shut down its ageing shuttle program in 2011 and is working with private firms to develop a new spacecraft for human transport.

NASA continues to fly cargo missions to the space station, which orbits an average of 400 kilometers above Earth.
Based on reporting by dpa and AFP