Trio reach Earth from ISS with football slated for World Cup

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

A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying three astronauts from the International Space Station has landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov was on his way back to Earth on Sunday along with an official match football that could be used later this month in the opening game of the World Cup in Moscow.

After landing, Shkaplerov ate from a bowl of grapes and said he was feeling well and happy to be back on Earth. There they will undergo a longer medical exam and then be flown either to Moscow or Houston.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and his two US colleagues Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold are still working on the ISS. More specifically, the astronauts brought back home the soccer ball that would be used in the opening game of the World Cup 2018, held in Russian Federation.

Scott Tingle, who was on his first flight, experienced a spacewalk with the mission to replace the hand of one of the station's robotic arms.


But one Kanai tweet in January caused confusion after he mistakenly claimed to have grown taller by nine centimetres just weeks after arriving on board the ISS.

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, center, his Russian counterpart Anton Shkaplerov, left, and Scott D. Tingle of the United States simile as they moved from the International Space Station (ISS) into the Soyuz space capsule before their landing in Kazakhstan on June 3, 2018.

NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and German astronaut Alexander Gerst are preparing to go to the ISS this week.

Their Soyuz spacecraft undocked and travelled away from the ISS for a couple of hours, before igniting its engines which took it out of Earth's orbit.

The orbiting laboratory now has a crew of three: Americans Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Russian Oleg Artemyev.

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