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A Russian Soyuz capsule with three astronauts onboard parachuted safely back to Earth on Tuesday (November 22) after nearly six months on the International Space Station (ISS), the first landing since NASA retired its space shuttles this summer.
U.S. astronaut Mike Fossum, Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov landed at 0226 GMT, shortly before sunrise on the snowbound steppe of central Kazakhstan, NASA TV showed.
NASA said the Soyuz capsule landed on its side, not unusual in windy conditions, about 90 km (55 miles) north of the town of Arkalyk. Temperatures at the landing site were 15 degrees Celsius below zero.
The three-man crew had spent 167 days in space and their return to Earth took about three-and-a-half hours.
The closure of NASA's shuttle programme means Russian spaceships are the only way to ferry goods and crews to and from the $100-billion ISS, which is shared by 16 nations, until commercial firms develop the ability to transport crews.
Russia hopes the textbook landing will help to restore confidence in its space programme after the August crash of an unmanned Russian cargo flight suspended manned space missions.