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Russia: Mir Crew Lands on Earth

Moscow, 14 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Soyuz space capsule carrying Russian cosmonauts Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin has touched down in the barren steppes of Central Kazkhstan, ending a problem-plagued six-month mission.

The two cosmonauts took just over three hours to return to Earth after undocking from Mir earlier today.

Several dozen rescue workers, medics and officials were standing by to receive the cosmonauts, who will be dispatched immediately to Moscow. There, Tsibliyev and Lazutkin will undergo a standard post-flight rehabilitation course lasting several weeks. They will also join an expert group looking into Mir's troubles, which included a fire, power loss, and faulty oxygen generators.

Tsibliyev also suffered from an irregular hearbeat while on the Mir, a condition apparently brought on by stress and lack of sleep. But space officials say his condition has stabilized and both men are believed to be in good health.