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Expedition 45 Astronauts Return From International Space Station [Video]

Expedition 45 Crew
Credit: NASA

After 141 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 45 crew has returned to Earth.

The three astronauts–NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, JAXA’s Kimiya Yui and Roscosmos’ Oleg Kononenko–caught a ride back down to the planet on JAXA’s TMA-17M spaceship, which touched down on December 11, 2015.

NASA’s Scott Kelly, the commander of Expedition 46, tweeted a picture to his nearly 700K Twitter followers of the three recently returned astronauts loading into the spacecraft that carried them home.

Commander Kelly also shared a series of pictures captured during the ship’s departure from the space station and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

The trio of astronauts representing Japan, Russia and the United States landed northeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan at 7:12 p.m. local time (8:12 a.m. EST).

Four Russian choppers transporting rescue teams moved in quickly as the crew of international astronauts touched down in the snow.

Instead of undergoing a routine post-flight medical checkup at the landing site, the crew was transported to Dzhezkazgan for what The Associated Press reported to have been a brief inspection conducted by physicians as a result of the weather: icy temperatures and powerful gusts of wind.

NASA shared a video of the crew safely landing in Kazakhstan on YouTube.

Russian cosmonaut Kononenko has now spent a total of 533 days in space, whereas Japan’s Yui and America’s Lindgren have both now spent 141 days each — as the mission marked their initial foray into space.

During Lindgren’s time aboard the space station, NASA reports that he made not one, but two planned spacewalks.

In his first spacewalk, Lindgren made some upgrades and performed some maintenance. On his second, he successfully reconfigured the station’s ammonia cooling system.

In just a matter of days, a three more astronauts are scheduled to take the place of the Expedition 45 members that just made it back. The three astronauts, who are scheduled to launch on December 15, are Tim Peake with the European Space Agency (ESA), Yuri Malenchenko with the Russian Federal Space Agency and NASA’s Tim Kopra.

The replacement crew is scheduled to launch out of Baikonur, Kazkhstan.

Earlier this month, Orbital ATK’s commercial resupply mission launched out of Florida’s Cape Canaveral managed to successfully deliver 7,300 pounds of supplies to the space station.

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