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SPACE STATION CREW SAFELY BACK ON EARTH

A space capsule carrying a U.S.-Russian-Italian crew landed safely on the steppes of northern Kazakhstan early today, following a mission aboard the international space station.

Search-and-rescue helicopters spotted the Russian TMA-5 capsule as it floated toward its designated arrival site about 50 miles north of the Kazakh town of Arkalyk and made a soft landing, upright. It had undocked with the orbiting station less than 3 1/2 hours earlier.

Space officials and medical staff traveled to the landing site to welcome American Leroy Chiao, Russian Salizhan Sharipov and Italian Roberto Vittori.

Mission Control said Sharipov had reported that the crew members were feeling fine.

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