3 astronauts return from International Space Station

MOSCOW (AP) — Three astronauts have returned to Earth after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergey Prokopyev and Alexander Gerst, of the European Space Agency, has landed on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan. They touched down a minute ahead of schedule at 11:02 a.m. local time Thursday (0502 GMT; 12:02 a.m. EST).

The trio has spent 197 days in space. It was the first mission for Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev, while Gerst flew his second to a total of 362 days in orbit, setting the ESA's flight duration record.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, who have arrived at the station earlier this month, are set to remain in orbit until June.