Three astronauts return from International Space Station

April 17, 2021 2:59 AM EDT

The International Space Station (ISS) crew member Kathleen Rubins of NASA reacts shortly after the landing of the Soyuz MS-17 space capsule in a remote area outside Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan April 17, 2021. NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout via REUTERS.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Three members of the International Space Station's crew returned safely to Earth on Saturday on a Russian Soyuz craft, Russia's Roscosmos space agency reported.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, a microbiologist who in 2016 became the first person to sequence DNA in space, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov landed in Kazakhstan at 0455 GMT.

The three had been at the space station since mid-October 2020.

Their mission was the last scheduled Russian flight carrying a U.S. crew member, marking an end to a long dependency as the U.S. revives its own crew launch capability in an effort to drive down the cost of sending astronauts to space.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh. Editing by Mark Potter)

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