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U.S.-Russian Space Station Crew Lands Safely

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying a three-man U.S.-Russian crew has landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan after spending nearly six months in orbit on the International Space Station.

The capsule carrying American Mike Hopkins and Russians Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy touched down southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 9:24 a.m. local time on March 11.

They spent 166 days in space.

Rescue crews, who maintained contact with the crew during their descent, report the astronauts are fine.

Three astronauts -- Koichi Wakata, the first Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut to command the space outpost, NASA's Rick Mastracchio, and Russia's Mikhail Tyurin -- remain aboard the ISS and will be there until mid-May.

They will operate the station for two weeks until the arrival of the next trio of crew members.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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