International Space Station crew members return to Earth after 6 months

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Moscow- A Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Wednesday returned to Earth after a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

A report from the station noted that it took about three hours for the crew members, U.S. Astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian Cosmonauts, Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin, to return to Earth.

It said that Williams set a U.S. record for the highest total number of days in space with more than 530.

The report added that during his time on the orbital complex, Williams ventured outside the confines of the space station for a second spacewalk with Rubin’s to retract a spare thermal control radiator and install two new high-definition cameras.

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“Together, the expedition 48 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.

“Williams return to Earth having accrued 534 days in space on his four missions dating back to 2000, the most days by any U.S. astronaut,’’ it said.

The station said that Williams was instrumental on the mission, performing two major spacewalks including helping install a vital docking port on the outside of the orbiting lab.

The station announced that returning crew members would be replaced by U.S. Astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian Cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are scheduled to blast off for the space station on September 23.

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The return of Expedition 48 has wrapped up 172 days in space for the crew since their launch in March 2016.

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