A Soyuz space capsule carrying a cosmonaut and two Russian filmmakers has landed after a three-and-a-half hour trip from the International Space Station.
The capsule, descending under a red-and-white striped parachute after entering Earth's atmosphere, landed upright in the steppes of Kazakhstan on schedule on Sunday with Oleg Novitskiy, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko aboard.
Actress Peresild and film director Shipenko rocketed to the space station on October 5 for a 12-day stint to film segments of a movie titled Challenge, in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to save a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit.
Novitskiy, who spent more than six months aboard the space station, is to star as the ailing cosmonaut in the movie.
After the landing, which sent plumes of dust flying high in the air, ground crews extracted the three space flyers from the capsule and placed them in seats set up nearby as they adjusted to the pull of gravity. They were then taken to a medical tent for examination.
All appeared healthy and cheerful. Peresild smiled and held a large bouquet of white flowers as journalists clustered around her. But she said she also felt a touch of melancholy.
"I'm feeling a bit sad today. It seemed that 12 days would be a lot, but I did not want to leave when everything was over," Peresild said on state TV.
The transfer to the medical tent was delayed for about 10 minutes while crews filmed several takes of Peresild and Novitskiy in their seats, which are to be included in the movie. More scenes remain to be shot on Earth for the film whose release date is uncertain.
Seven astronauts remain aboard the space station: Russia's Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov; Americans Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency; and Japan's Aki Hoshide.
Australian Associated Press