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Space Station astronauts return from 168-day mission

Three members of International Space Station Expedition 55 crew returned to Earth in the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft Sunday morning after a 168-day mission.

NASA flight engineer Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency landed safely in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan at 8:39 a.m.

While on the space station the crew completed hundreds of experiments, including materials testing, studying the effect of microgravity on bone marrow and researching plant growth in space.

Tingle and Kanai also conducted space walks outside of the station to work on parts of the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

While onboard the space station, the crew received four cargo spacecraft, including two SpaceX Dragons, an Orbital ATK's Cygnus and a Russian Progress cargo craft.

The mission was the first for Tungle and Kanai, while Shkaplerov has spent 532 days in space throughout three flights.

Shkaplerov led the Expedition 55 crew, which operated the station since Expedition 54 crew members, including NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, as well as cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos left the station in February.

After their departure, Expedition 56 crew members Commander Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA, and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos will operate the station and await three new crew members set to arrive Friday.

Daniel Uria

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