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Three members of International Space Station crew return to Earth

During their 5.5 months in space, the now-Earthbound crew members orbited the planet 2,656 times, traversing 70.5 million miles.

By Brooks Hays
Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, left, Commander Oleg Kotov of Roscosmos, center, and, Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins of NASA, sit in chairs outside the Soyuz TMA-10M capsule shortly after they landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. UPI/Bill Ingalls/NASA
Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, left, Commander Oleg Kotov of Roscosmos, center, and, Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins of NASA, sit in chairs outside the Soyuz TMA-10M capsule shortly after they landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. UPI/Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo

After nearly six months aboard the International Space Station, one astronaut and two cosmonauts -- NASA's Michael Hopkins, plus Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency -- returned to Earth today.

Their return vessel, the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft, landed safely in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, early this morning. The members of Expedition 38 leave the station to Expedition 39 crew -- commanded by Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and assisted by Russian flight engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mikhail Tyurin. Expedition 39 arrived at the station last November; they'll be joined by Expedition 40 in a few weeks.

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During their 5.5 months in space, the now-Earthbound crew members orbited the planet 2,656 times, traversing 70.5 million miles.

While aboard, crew members made a variety of repairs to the space station, as well as conducted a range of experiments, including testing the growth of plant seedlings and the behavior of liquid under microgravity.

"It symbolizes what we as a human species -- not as different countries, but what we as people -- can do when we come together," NASA's Michael Hopkins said of the space station and his time in orbit.

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[NASA]

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