US, Russian trio return to Earth after six months on International Space Station

In this handout photo released by Roscosmos Space Agency, NASA's Kate Rubins, center, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, top, of the Russian space agency wave before enter the Soyuz MS-17 for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. A trio of space travelers has launched successfully to the International Spce Station, for the first time using a fast-track maneuver to reach the orbiting outpost in just three hours. (Andrey Shelepin/Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and American astronaut Chris Cassidy have landed safely on Earth after spending half a year on the International Space Station (ISS), according to NASA.

The trio landed in a Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at around 0320GMT on Thursday, in a remote town in Kazakhstan, NASA said in a tweet.

The 402-kilometre journey back to earth took about three hours and 20 minutes.

Their return marks the end of a 196-day mission. Over that time the ISS orbited Earth 3,136 times and covered more than 133 million kilometres.

Ivanishin is a seasoned space traveller – over three flights he has spent 476 days in space.

While it was Vagner’s first flight, expedition commander Cassidy has spent a total of 378 days in space.

In November, four new guests will be sent to the station on a rocket launched by private space company SpaceX.

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