May 19, 2019

Kanai to return to earth from space station

06 June 2018, 04:48 | Edward Lowe

The Soyuz MS-07/53S crew: Norishige Kanai commander Anton Shkaplerov and NASA flight engineer Scott Tingle. NASA

The Soyuz MS-07/53S crew: Norishige Kanai commander Anton Shkaplerov and NASA flight engineer Scott Tingle.               NASA

Three crew members from the International Space Station (ISS) have arrived safely back on Earth after a mission of more than five months.

Shkaplerov will return to Moscow with a football he brought back from the space station.

Shkaplerov, Scott Tingle of the United States and Norishige Kanai of Japan undocked from the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-07 capsule and began making their descent at 0916 GMT according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos. "We are glad the weather is sunny". He and another cosmonaut were filmed practicing with the ball aboard the ISS.

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According to the Russian agency TASS, that ball will be also used in the opening match of the World Cup, on June 14, in Moscow, although the information has not yet been confirmed by Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Three crew members now on board the International Space Station are making final preparations to end their mission on the orbiting laboratory.

This mission was the first for Tingle and Kanai, and Shkaplerov now has logged 532 days in space on three flights.

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

Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency made life on the space station more accessible to Japanese-speakers by tweeting in the language most days. Then he corrected himself and said he had only grown two centimeters.

The spacecraft will be carrying a crew of three to the world's sole orbiter, namely Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, US astronaut Serena Aunon and German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

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The space laboratory has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998.

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