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US, Russian Astronauts Return After 6-Month Space Station Mission


NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, left, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, center, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos are seen inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft a few moments after they landed in a remote area in Kazakhstan.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, left, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, center, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos are seen inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft a few moments after they landed in a remote area in Kazakhstan.

One American astronaut and two Russians landed safely in Kazakhstan Wednesday after spending nearly six months on the International Space Station.

The U.S. space agency NASA announced that American astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka returned to Earth this week.

Their journey from the space station to Earth took about three and a half hours.
Astronaut Jeff Williams has now spent more time in orbit than any other American. He has spent 534 days in space during four separate missions.

It is a Russian cosmonaut who holds the world record: Gennady Padalka has spent 879 days in space.

NASA wrote about Jeff Williams’ experience at the space station. The U.S. space agency said Williams performed five space walks during his time there. During one of the space walks, Williams installed a station where commercial space flights can stop.

NASA said Williams played an important role in getting the space station ready for a private U.S. space industry – not just government-operated missions.

Williams also commented on his experience on social media. He posted a picture of Earth’s outer atmosphere and wrote, "I will certainly miss this view!"

Russian Anatoly Ivanishin took command after Williams left the station. The Russian cosmonaut remains in the space station with American Kate Rubins and Japan’s Takuya Onishi.

I’m Anne Ball.

Joshua Fatzick wrote this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Kelly J. Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

cosmonautn. an astronaut in the space program of Russia or the former Soviet Union

mission - n. a job or project that someone is given to do

commercial - adj. related to or used in the buying and selling of goods and services

role - n. a part that someone or something has in an activity or situation

view - n. a way of thinking about something; the things that can be seen from a given area or place

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