Thu, 19 Sep 2019

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a Russian cosmonaut and two astronauts from the United States and Canada has returned to Earth.

Expedition commander Oleg Kononenko of Roskosmos, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques touched down on the steppes of southeastern Kazakhstan on June 25 after spending 204 days in space.

It was Kononenko's fourth space mission.

Russia's Aleksei Ovchinin and two U.S. astronauts, Nick Hague and Christina Koch, remain aboard the International Space Station.

The trio is to be joined by Andrew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, and Aleksandr Skvortsov of Roskosmos in July.

In October 2018, a Soyuz spacecraft that Hague and Ovchinin were riding in failed two minutes into its flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely.

That accident was the Russian space program's first aborted crew launch since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch-pad explosion.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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