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Soyuz spacecraft leaves ISS with crew for Earth

2010-03-19 08:50 BJT

MOSCOW, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A Soyuz TMA-16 spaceship carrying two astronauts has undocked from the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency's mission control center outside Moscow said Thursday.

Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams left the ISS at 11:03 Moscow time (0803 GMT) in the landing capsule of the spaceship, said Valery Lyndin, spokesman for the mission control center.

Surayev and Williams have been on a space mission for about 169 days.

The reentry vehicle is expected to land at 2:23 p.m. Moscow time (1123 GMT) some 57 km northeast of the Kazak town of Arkalyk.

It was the first time in almost 10 years that a landing capsule brought back only two astronauts rather than three. The third vacancy seat has taken some additional cargoes from the ISS.

Russian Oleg Kotov, Japanese Soichi Noguchi and American Timothy Creamer will continue to work in orbit, until a Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft delivers three more astronauts to the ISS on April 2.

Editor: Zheng Limin | Source: Xinhua