A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying three International Space Station crewmen landed safely in Kazakhstan on Friday.
NASA astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev landed their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:59 a.m. EDT (9:59 a.m. in Kazakhstan), NASA reported.
The astronauts returned to the Earth after spending more than five months on the ISS. They arrived at the station on April 6 and had been scheduled to land on Sept. 8. But that was delayed because of the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo ship.
Borisenko, Expedition 28 commander, handed over the command of the station to his American fellow crew member Michael Fossum at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Fossum will be leading Expedition 29 with flight engineers Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa.
The returning crew's replacements -- NASA flight engineer Dan Burbank and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin -- were scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Sept. 24. But their flight had been delayed following a launch accident on Aug. 24, involving an unmanned Russian cargo ship bound for the station, Reuters reported.
The Progress mission that was meant to take place in August will now take place in late October while the Soyuz mission has been postponed to Nov. 12.
NASA is relying on the Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle their astronauts into space until the private enterprise can create a reliable space transport system.