Three astronauts from the International Space Station have safely returned to Earth after completing a five-month mission.
American Scott Tingle, Russian Anton Shkaplerov and Japan’s Norishige Kanai touched down at 12:39 UTC Sunday in Kazakhstan.
Shkaplerov, who was the first to be helped out of the Russian Soyuz space capsule, said, “We are a bit tired but happy with what we have accomplished and happy to be back on Earth. We are glad the weather is sunny.”
The trio will undergo medical tests in the Kazakh city of Karaganda before flying on to Moscow or Houston.
Shkaplerov will return to Moscow with a football he brought back from the space station. He and another cosmonaut were filmed practicing with the ball aboard the ISS. The Russian news agency Tass reported that the ball will be used in the opening game of the World Cup later this month.
Three astronauts, Americans Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Russian Oleg Artemyev, remain on the ISS. They will be joined by three others who will take off Wednesday from the Baikonur complex in Kazakhstan.