Search and rescue helicopters are seen before a flight to the landing area of the Soyuz MS-09 capsule with the International Space Station (ISS) crew onboard during sunrise in the town of Zhezkazgan, formerly known as Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

3 astronauts return from International Space Station

The trio has spent 197 days in space.

Three astronauts returned to Earth Thursday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergey Prokopyev and German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency landed on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) southeast of the city of Dzhezkazgan. They touched down a minute ahead of schedule at 11:02 a.m. local time (0502 GMT; 12:02 a.m. EST).

The crew radioed that they were feeling fine. Russian rescue teams in helicopters and all-terrain vehicles rushed to the landing site to extract the astronauts from the capsule charred by a fiery ride through atmosphere.

The trio has spent 197 days in space. It was the first mission for Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev, while Gerst flew his second to a total of 362 days in orbit, setting the ESA’s flight duration record.

The rescue crews helped the crew in their balky space suits leave the capsule and conducted an initial medical examination. The astronauts will be taken to Dzhezkazgan for a brief welcome ceremony before being flown to their respective countries for more thorough check-ups.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, who have arrived at the station earlier this month, are set to remain in orbit until June.

Read more: Canadian astronaut lifts off on Russian rocket to International Space Station

Read more: NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Suspects carry out 500-lb fireplace in latest commercial smash and grab

Third break-in at Campbell River business in less than a week: RCMP

TSB investigating the grounding of Nana Provider on Quadra

‘This was a wake-up call to the people on the inside passage,’ says area director

With locks, you get what you pay for: RCMP offer tips for keeping bikes safe

Documenting the bicycle and knowing the serial number also help

Survey gives City of Campbell River some kudos, but also some raspberries

Some satisfaction survey results improved, while others stagnated or declined since 2016

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Salvation Army kettle campaign targets $200,000 for Island residents in need

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Most Read