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Russia's Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft to return to Earth earlier than planned

RIA Novosti

18:51 15/11/2010 MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Soyuz TMA-19 spaceship with a Russian cosmonaut and U.S. astronauts on board will return to Earth earlier than planned because of an OSCE summit due on December 1-2 in Astana, a spokesman for Russian state-run space corporation Roscosmos said.

The spacecraft, which blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center for its half year mission on the International Space Station in June, was initially scheduled to land in Kazakhstan on November 30. But the Kazakh authorities decided to restrict air traffic several days ahead of the summit, that is why the landing of the spaceship was moved to November 26, the spokesman said.

The Soyuz TMA-19 is planned to land about 70 kilometers from the central Kazakh city of Arkalyk at 9:00 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT) on that day. November 27 has been planned as a reserve day for the landing, the spokesman said.

The spaceship's crew consists of Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and U.S. astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker.

The TMA-19 mission is the 106th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft since the start of the program in 1967.

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