Space capsule with 2 astronauts returns to Earth

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts after a half-year aboard the International Space Station lands in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, June 2, 2017. The capsule with the International Space Station (ISS) crew of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, landed Friday on the steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
A member of the International Space Station crew, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, speaks over a phone after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, June 2, 2017. The capsule with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, landed Friday on the steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
A member of the International Space Station crew, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, speaks on a phone after landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, June 2, 2017. The capsule with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, landed Friday on the steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and president of the French space agency CNES (Centre national d'etudes spatiales - National Centre for Space Studies) Jean-Yves Le Gall, right, applaud at the CNES headquarters in Paris, France, as they watch a live broadcast of the landing of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy in Kazakhstan, ending their marathon 196-day mission to the International Space Station, Friday, June 2, 2017. (Stephane de Sakutin/pool Photo via AP)
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts after a half-year aboard the International Space Station descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, June 2, 2017. The capsule with the International Space Station (ISS) crew of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, landed Friday on the steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to Earth after a half-year aboard the International Space Station has landed.

The capsule with Russia's Oleg Novitsky and Thomas Pesquet of France descended under a red-and-white parachute and landed on schedule at 8:10 p.m. (1410 GMT) Friday on the steppes of Kazakhstan outside the city of Dzhezkazgan, about 2,200 kilometers (1,370 miles) southeast of Moscow.

Both were extracted from the capsule, which came to rest on its side, within 15 minutes and appeared to be in good condition.

Although Soyuz capsules have three seats, one was unoccupied because NASA's Peggy Whitson's mission aboard the space station has been extended by three months.

Pesquet and Novitsky spent 194 days aboard the orbiting space laboratory.

Pesquet, who reinvigorated France's interest in space with breathtaking tweeted photos and online chats from the cosmos, returned to a presidential welcome.

French President Emmanuel Macron talked to the astronaut by video transmission after he landed Friday and praised Pesquet for sharing his experience so openly.

"You made us all dream during those six months with your images, your tweets," Macron told him.

Pesquet responded, "it gave me pleasure to share."

Macron, who had just launched his presidential campaign when Pesquet blasted off in November, noted that "since you left, a lot of things have happened ...."

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