3 astronauts return to Earth from space station

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MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts has landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan, returning the three men to Earth after a 144-day mission to the International Space Station.

NASA's Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin were scheduled to return on Friday, but bad weather delayed the landing until Saturday.

Their Russian-made capsule touched down Saturday at around 9:10 a.m. Saturday local time, or 11:10 p.m. Friday Central time. Live footage on NASA TV showed all three men smiling as they were helped out of the capsule and into reclining chairs to begin adjusting to gravity after nearly five months in space.

Space officials said Ford would return to Houston, while the Russians head back to the space training center near Moscow.

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