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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ISS Crew Makes Safe Landing

ARKALYK, Kazakhstan -- A Russian-U.S. crew returned safely to Earth from the international space station, their Soyuz space capsule streaking through the atmosphere and landing on target in the steppes of Kazakhstan early Sunday.

The bell-shaped Soyuz TMA-4, carrying Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yury Shargin and American Mike Fincke, parachuted down to the targeted landing site, 90 kilometers north of the town of Arkalyk, at 4:36 a.m. Moscow time.

Search crew members helped the three men out of the capsule. They sat in chairs, sipping hot drinks and bundled up in blankets, and then underwent brief medical checks in a nearby tent. Fincke spoke by satellite phone with his family.

The crew then boarded a special jet and returned to Star City near Moscow. Wearing bright blue and red jackets, the men were met by a cheering crowd of family and friends.

"The cosmonauts are in a good mood, they are feeling fine," Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov told reporters at Mission Control outside Moscow, where Russian and U.S. space officials had gathered to monitor the Soyuz's descent.

Shargin had arrived earlier this month with the new crew, Salizhan Sharipov of Russia and Leroy Chiao of the United States. The two crews had bid each other farewell hours earlier at the space station.

"Good luck. I wish you a fortunate mission. We'll meet you back on Earth," Padalka told Sharipov and Chiao.