PHOTOS: Soyuz capsule parachutes back to Earth

Three astronauts returned to Earth from the International Space Station early Friday, touching down on the steppes of Kazakhstan inside a cramped Soyuz descent capsule at 0359 GMT Friday (11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday) after a 164-day voyage in orbit. Russian recovery crews, along with NASA flight surgeons and space station program managers, were standing by to help Soyuz commander Alexander Samokutyaev, Andrey Borisenko and NASA flight engineer Ronald Garan out of the cramped descent module as they begin their re-adaptation to gravity after five-and-a-half months in space. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls


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