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Soyuz spacecraft brings back Expedition 23 crew

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The Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft lands on the steppes of Kazakhstan. A NASA Photo

WASHINGTON (BNS): Russia's Soyuz spacecraft carrying the Expedition 23 crew members from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning.

Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov, US astronaut Timothy Creamer and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi landed their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft on the steppes of eastern Kazakhstan at 0325 GMT (9:25 am Kazakhstan time) on Wednesday, NASA said.

The team returned home after spending nearly six months in the orbital station.

During their 163-day stay, the astronauts supported three space shuttle missions that delivered the US Tranquility module and its cupola. They also worked in attaching the Russian Rassvet laboratory and storage module to the ISS.

The Soyuz TMA-17 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 21, 2009 on a ‘Christmas mission’ to the ISS. The launch was the spacecraft's first ever launch on a winter night.

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