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International Space Station Expedition 24 crew lands safely


WASHINGTON (BNS): The Russian Soyuz TMA-18 spaceship with threw crew members on board successfully undocked from the International Space Station and landed in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko landed their spacecraft at 0123 a.m. near Arkalyk in Kazakhstan.

Skvortsov, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 1002 p.m. EDT Friday from the Poisk module's docking port on the station's Zvezda module, NASA said.

The undocking and landing occurred a day later than planned because of a hatch sensor problem Thursday night. That problem prevented hooks on the Poisk side of the docking mechanism from opening.

Station crew members installed a series of jumper cables, bypassing the sensor, and the Poisk module hooks retracted. Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after 176 days in space.

Skvortsov and Kornienko will return Saturday to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow.

The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in April. As members of the Expedition 23 and 24 crews, they spent 174 days on the station.

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