A Soyuz spaceship carrying three astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) landed on Wednesday in Kazakhstan, US space agency NASA said.

The spaceship carrying commander Pavel Vinogradov and flight engineer Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and NASA flight engineer Chris Cassidy landed in the Kazakh steppe at 8:58 am (0158 GMT).

The spaceship had undocked from the ISS some 3.5 hours earlier. A rescue team made their way to the capsule by helicopter.

The astronauts left three colleagues behind, Karen Nyberg (US), Luca Parmitano (Italy) and Fyodor Yurchikhin (Russia).

On Monday, Vinogradov handed over the space station’s command to his fellow countryman Yurchikhin. The ISS will be manned by just three astronauts until a fresh three-member crew is expected to join them at the end of September.

(This article was published on September 11, 2013)
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