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Thud! Soyuz capsule lands safely, an American and two Russian astronauts aboard

Russia's space agency ground personnel help US astronaut Dan Burbank shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-22 capsule near the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, on April 27, 2012. US astronaut Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed today safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.
Russia's space agency ground personnel help US astronaut Dan Burbank shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-22 capsule near the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, on April 27, 2012. US astronaut Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed today safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP - Getty Images
Soyuz TMA-22 capsule with Expedition 30 aboard lands in a remote area outside the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, on April 27. US astronaut Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed today safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP - Getty Images

Russia's space agency ground personnel help US astronaut Dan Burbank shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-22 capsule near the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, on April 27, 2012. US astronaut Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed today safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP - Getty Images

A Russian space capsule touched down on the steppes of Kazakhstan in Central Asia Friday, safely returning a joint U.S.-Russian crew to Earth after months aboard the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft landed at 7:45 a.m. ET, less than four hours after undocking from the space station. Riding home aboard the space capsule were NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who were reintroduced to the strong tug of Earth's gravity after spending 165 days, or nearly five and a half months, in orbit.

Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin launched into space in mid-November. The three men formed half of the space station's six-person crew. Their homecoming brought the outpost's Expedition 30 mission to a close and marked the beginning of Expedition 31.

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-- space.com

Russia's space agency ground personnel help Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-22 capsule near the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, on April 27. US astronaut Dan Burbank, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, landed today safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP - Getty Images

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