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(Reuters)

A capsule carrying two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut from the International Space Station landed in snowy Kazakhstan on Wednesday after a five-and-a-half month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed

The Soyuz spacecraft brought back Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei, from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Alexander Misurkin, from Russian space agency Roscosmos.

 

International Space Station crew member Alexander Misurkin of Russia rests after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
International Space Station crew member Alexander Misurkin of Russia rests after after the Soyuz MS-06 capsule landed in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

The capsule landed in the snow covered steppe some 90 miles southeast of the central city of Zhezkazgan at 8.31 a.m. (0231 GMT).

Misurkin was the first to emerge from the spacecraft, assisted by members of the Russian search and recovery team, and he was followed by Acaba who smiled and made a thumbs-up gesture.

 

International Space Station crew member astronaut Joe Acaba of the U.S. rests after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
International Space Station crew member astronaut Joe Acaba of the U.S. rests after the Soyuz MS-06 capsule landed in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

The trio had spent five-and-a-half months at the ISS, a $100 billion lab that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

The are due to be replaced by NASA’s Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold, and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, whose spacecraft will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, also in Kazakhstan, on March 21.

 

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

 

 

International Space Station crew member astronaut Mark Vande Hei of the U.S. rests after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
International Space Station crew member astronaut Mark Vande Hei of the U.S. rests after the Soyuz MS-06 capsule landed in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S., and Alexander Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

Search and rescue team approaches the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule with International Space Station crew members Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
Search and rescue team approaches the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule with International Space Station crew members Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S., and Alexander Misurkin of Russia after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

International Space Station crew members Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia rest in chairs after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
International Space Station crew members Joe Acaba (L) and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S. (R), and Alexander Misurkin of Russia rest in chairs after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

Ground personnel help astronaut Joe Acaba of the U.S. to get out of the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
Ground personnel help astronaut Joe Acaba of the U.S. to get out of the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

International Space Station crew member Mark Vande Hei of the U.S. receives a traditional Kazakh hat after a news conference in the town of Dzhezkazgan
International Space Station crew member Mark Vande Hei of the U.S. receives a traditional Kazakh hat after a news conference in the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S., and Alexander Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

Search and rescue teams work at the site of landing of the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule with International Space Station crew members Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
Search and rescue teams work at the site of landing of the Soyuz MS-06 space capsule with International Space Station crew members Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S., and Alexander Misurkin of Russia in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, on February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

 

The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Acaba and Vande Hei of the U.S., and Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan
The Soyuz MS-06 capsule carrying the crew of Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei of the U.S., and Alexander Misurkin of Russia descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan (Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool
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