Space capsule with 3 astronauts returns to Earth

December 14, 2017
Space capsule with 3 astronauts returns to Earth
Matryoshka, Russian traditional wooden dolls, decorated with portraits of U.S. astronaut Randy Bresnik, left, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, center, and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli are displayed during a welcome ceremony at the airport of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Three astronauts on Thursday landed back on Earth after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)

Three astronauts returned to Earth on Thursday after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station, landing on the snow-covered steppes outside of a remote town in Kazakhstan.

A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA's Randy Bresnik, Russia's Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency descended under a red-and-white parachute and landed on schedule at 2:37 p.m. local time (0837 GMT; 3:37 a.m. EST).

The three were pulled out of the capsule within 20 minutes and appeared to be in good condition.

Bresnik, Ryazansky and Nespoli spent 139 days aboard the orbiting space laboratory. The trio who arrived at the station in July contributed to hundreds of scientific experiments and performed several spacewalks.

They left behind Alexander Misurkin, commander of the crew, and two Americans, Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei.

During their stay at the station, the crew had a phone call with Pope Francis who talked with them about Dante's verses and Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince."

Bresnik, a U.S. Marine who flew combat missions during the Iraq war, told the pope what strikes him is that in space there are "no borders, there is no conflict, it's just peaceful."

Kentucky-born Bresnik also celebrated Thanksgiving in space, feasting on pouches of turkey with his colleagues.

The space station will go back to a six-member crew when NASA's Scott Tingle, Russia's Anton Shkaplerov and Japan's Norishige Kanai take off from Kazakhstan on Sunday.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli rests in a chair shortly after he and NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy landed in their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Bresnik, Nespoli and Ryazanskiy are returning after 139 days in space onboard the International Space Station. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

Space capsule with 3 astronauts returns to Earth
The Russian Soyuz MS-05 space capsule lands about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Three astronauts on Thursday landed back on Earth after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
U.S. astronaut Randy Bresnik is helped out of the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft just minutes after he, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Bresnik, Nespoli and Ryazanskiy are returning after 139 days in space onboard the International Space Station. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
Space capsule with 3 astronauts returns to Earth
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, center, is assisted by ESA space agency specialists pose for a photo at the airport of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Three astronauts on Thursday landed back on Earth after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
The Russian Soyuz MS-05 space capsule lands about 150 km (90 miles) south-east of the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Three astronauts on Thursday landed back on Earth after nearly six months aboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool)
Space capsule with 3 astronauts returns to Earth
U.S. astronaut Randy Bresnik rests in a chair shortly after he and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy landed in their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Bresnik, Nespoli and Ryazanskiy are returning after 139 days in space onboard the International Space Station. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

Explore further: Image: Space station transits the moon

Related Stories

Image: Space station transits the moon

December 5, 2017

The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the Moon at roughly five miles per second, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania.

Recommended for you

How massive can neutron stars be?

January 16, 2018

Astrophysicists at Goethe University Frankfurt set a new limit for the maximum mass of neutron stars: They cannot exceed 2.16 solar masses.

Hubble weighs in on mass of three million billion suns

January 16, 2018

In 2014, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns—so it's little wonder that it has earned the nickname of ...

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

January 12, 2018

Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves and other radiation across the universe.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.