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Soyuz touchdown
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft fires its retro rockets as it touches down in Kazakhstan, marking the return of three spacefliers from the International Space Station. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

News Brief: The hatch to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module has a lot in common with a revolving door this week, due to today’s homecoming for three spacefliers and Wednesday’s launch of a fresh space trio. After spending more than five months in orbit, NASA’s Scott Tingle, Japan’s Norishige Kanai and Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov left the station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and touched down safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan. “That was a good ride!” Tingle said. NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Germany’s Alexander Gerst and Russia’s Sergei Prokopyev are getting set to blast off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in another Soyuz. Three others — NASA’s Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, plus Russia’s Oleg Artemyev — bridge the transition from Expedition 55 to Expedition 56.

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