Space Station crew members return from 168-day mission

Space Station crew members return from 168-day mission

A Soyuz capsule carrying Russian Anton Shkaplerov, American Scott Tingle and Japan's Norishige Kanai floated down under a red-and-white parachute for a landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

While on the space station the crew completed hundreds of experiments, including materials testing, studying the effect of microgravity on bone marrow and researching plant growth in space.

American astronaut Scott Tingle, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov had lived and worked in a low-Earth orbit for 168 days.

Shkaplerov, who was the first to be helped out of the Russian Soyuz space capsule, said, "We are a bit exhausted but happy with what we have accomplished and happy to be back on Earth".

Shkaplerov will return to Moscow with a football he brought back from the space station.

Russian news agency TASS reported that the ball is planned to be used during the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow on Jun 14, although FIFA has not confirmed that information.

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During his mission, Kanai conducted various scientific experiments in space and walked in space outside the International Space Station.

The crew comprising Andrew Feustel (the crew commander, USA), Oleg Artemyev (Russia) and Richard Arnold (USA) now continue their work aboard the International Space Station.

Mr Putin highlighted Japan's important contribution to the ISS and Mr Abe expressed his joy at the pair working in such unity in space.

NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, and Germany's Alexander Gerst, of the European Space Agency, will be the latest residents of the ISS.

Expedition 55 Flight Engineers Tingle, Kanai and Shkaplerov undocked from the International Space Station at 5:16 a.m. EDT to begin their trip home, NASA said in a blogpost.

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