3 space station astronauts safely return to Earth

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Russian Soyuz Capsule Lands in Kazakhstan

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian space capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan on Saturday, bringing home a three-person crew from the International Space Station, including a record-breaking Russian cosmonaut.

Russia's Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of Kazakhstan landed on the steppe just two minutes before sunrise and were feeling fine. Their Soyuz TMA-16M capsule touched down on schedule at 0651 local time (0051 GMT) Saturday, 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Dzhezkazgan, in what a NASA commentator called a "bull's-eye landing."

See photos from their return:

9 PHOTOS
3 space station astronauts return to earth
See Gallery
3 space station astronauts safely return to Earth
Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka smiles leaving a bus during a welcoming ceremony in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan, bringing home a three-person crew from the International Space Station, including a record-breaking Russian cosmonaut. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
The Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Russia's Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan’s Aidyn Aimbetov lands some 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Padalka has completed his fifth mission for the world’s record 879 cumulative days in space, more than two months longer than the previous record holder, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Rescue workers carry Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka after the Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan’s Aidyn Aimbetov landing some 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
The Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Russia’s Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan’s Aidyn Aimbetov prepares to land some 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Padalka has completed his fifth mission for the world’s record 879 cumulative days in space, more than two months longer than the previous record holder, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Rescue workers carry Denmark's astronaut Andreas Mogensen after the Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Russia’s Gennady Padalka, Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan’s Aidyn Aimbetov landing 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
From left, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Aidyn Aimbetov, Russia's Gennady Padalka and Denmark's Andreas Mogensen walk during a welcoming ceremony in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan, bringing home a three-person crew from the International Space Station, including a record-breaking Russian cosmonaut. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Rescue workers carry Kazakhstan’s cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov after the Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Russia’s Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Aimbetov landing 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Denmark's astronaut Andreas Mogensen sits in chair after the Russian Soyuz TMA-16M capsule carrying a crew of Russia’s Gennady Padalka, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Kazakhstan’s Aidyn Aimbetov landing 146 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Padalka has completed his fifth mission for a world record of 879 total days in space, more than two months longer than the previous record holder, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev.

Padalka spent 168 days on this most recent stint, while Mogensen, from Denmark, and Aimbetov each spent 10 days in orbit. Both Mogensen and Aimbetov were the first astronauts from their countries to fly into space.

Helicopters and off-road vehicles rushed to the landing area as the capsule, charred by a fiery plunge through the Earth's atmosphere, descended under an orange-and-white parachute. Rescue personnel quickly extracted the smiling crew from the capsule's hatch and put them in reclining chairs as medics checked their condition.

NASA's Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren remain on the station along with Russia's Mikhail Kornienko, Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko and Japan's Kimiya Yui.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners