Soyuz Capsule Comes Down to Earth Amid Space Station Dispute

Image: Dust rises near the Russian Soyuz TMA-11M space capsule shortly after its landing
Dust rises near the Russian Soyuz TMA-11M space capsule shortly after its landing, some 80 miles south-east of town Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2014.DMITRY LOVETSKY / AFP - Getty Images

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Three astronauts, a Russian, an American and their Japanese commander, touched down safely on Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule on Wednesday, the first such landing since Russia's relationship with the West slumped amid the Ukraine crisis. NASA announced in April that it was cutting space cooperation with Russia, but that work at the space station would not be affected.

In what appeared to be a retaliatory move, Russia's deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said Tuesday that Moscow had no plans to keep the station past 2020, even though NASA had indicated in January that the station's lifespan would be extended to 2024.

— Agence France-Presse

Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is carried in a chair to a medical tent just minutes after he and Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA, landed in their Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, May 14. Wakata, Tyurin and Mastracchio returned to Earth after more than six months onboard the International Space Station (ISS) where they served as members of the Expedition 38 and 39 crews.Bill Ingalls / NASA via EPA