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Three Astronauts To Return To Earth Despite Space Mishap

Russia's Soyuz is expected to return three astronauts to Earth after a mishap with the spacecraft earlier this week that knocked the International Space Station slightly off orbit.

The glitch did not change the planned day of departure and Soyuz is scheduled to land in Kazakhstan in the afternoon of June 11.

Returning to Earth will be ISS commander Terry Virts of the United States and two flight engineers -- Anton Shkaplerov of Russia and Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. The three have spent 199 days in space.

About 200 military personnel, 20 planes and helicopters, as well as 15 vehicles will be on hand for the landing.

Russian and U.S. space officials said the ISS had stabilized its position after the Soyuz's thrusters inadvertently activated during a routine test of communication systems, knocking the ISS off course.

The "slight change" in ISS orientation had been corrected, NASA said, and there was never any threat to the crew or the station itself.

Based on reporting by dpa and TASS