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Record-Setting Cosmonaut, Two Crewmates Return To Earth

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying the world's most experienced space flier and two rookie crewmates left the International Space Station and returned safely to earth September 11, NASA and Russian space officials said.

The capsule touched down in a parachute landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

Strapped inside the capsule was former station commander Gennady Padalka, 57, who returns from his fifth spaceflight with a record 879 days in orbit.

The previous record was set by six-time flier Sergei Krikalev, who has a career total 803 days in space.

Joining Padalka for the ride back to Earth were two rookies, Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, both of whom spent less than 10 days in orbit.

"There definitely hasn't been time to get homesick," Mogensen, the first Dane in space, said during an inflight press conference September 8. "Time has really, really flown past."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and TASS