Soyuz space capsule lands safely in Kazakhstan

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A US astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut returning from the International Space Station (ISS) have landed safely in in Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz space capsule.

The capsule, ferrying Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev, landed in the vast steppe near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan as planned, Russia's Mission Control said.

Three men remain aboard the $100 billion 16-nation ISS. They are US Flight Engineer Timothy Creamer, Japanese Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi and Russian Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov.

Russia will ferry all crews to the ISS aboard its single-use Soyuz spaceships after Nasa mothballs its shuttle fleet by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Russia announced a halt to space tourism to free capacity for ISS flights. It plans to double the number of launches to four this year as permanent crews of professionals aboard the expanded ISS are set to rise to six.

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