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U. S., European and Russian International Space Station Crew Members Land Safely in Northern Kazakhstan

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U.S., European and Russian astronauts descended safely to a chilly landing in northern  Kazakhstan late Sunday, after departing the International Space Station to end a 165 day mission.

The Soyuz TMA-13M carrying NASA's Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and cosmonaut Maxim Suraev touched down under parachute 53 miles northeast of Arkalyk, at 10:58 p.m., EST, or on Monday, at  9:58 a.m., local time. The astronauts were greeted within minutes by helicopter borne Russian recovery forces, carrying U.S. as well as European representatives. Temperatures in the region were in the low 20s, Fahrenheit, and the skies mostly cloudy.

NASA's Reid Wiseman braves subfreezing temperatures after 165 days in Earth orbit. NASA

As they undocked from the ISS Russian segment's Rassvet docking module at 7:31 p.m., EST, command of the station transitioned from Suraev, who led Expedition 41, to NASA's Barry "Butch" Wilmore, who arrived on Sept. 25 with cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova.

Russia's Soyuz TMA-13M departs the space station with Russia's Maxim Suraev, NASA's Reid Wiseman and the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst. NASA.

The station is scheduled to return to six person operations late Nov. 23 with the arrival of Russia's TMA-15M spacecraft carrying new Expedition 42 crew members Terry Virts, of NASA; Samantha Cristoforetti, of ESA; and Anton Shkaplerov, of the Russian federal space agency ROSCOSMOS.

After undocking, the TMA-13M maneuvered to a point nearly eight miles from the ISS for the near five minute braking maneuver that dropped the three men into the Earth's atmosphere.

After medical field checks, Wiseman, Gerst and Suraev were to be flown by helicopter to Kustanay, Kazakhstan, the staging site for the airborne Russian recovery forces. After a greeting ceremony, Wiseman and Gerst were to board a NASA jet for a flight to Cologne, Germany, home to the European Astronaut Centre, and then the U.S., first stopping to drop off Gerst, then delivering Wiseman to his Houston, Tex., home.

Suraev was to fly by Russian transport to Star City, near Moscow, where he too will begin a physical rehabilitation program designed to restore muscles, bones and neurovestibular systems to pre-flight status.

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