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After 6-Month Space Station Mission, 2 US and Russian Astronauts Return to Earth

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Sept 07, 2016: Two Russian and American astronaut returned to our planet at Kazakhstan in the wee hours of Wednesday. After completing work for 6 months on the International Space Station.

After spending 534 days in the space across four space stations American astronaut Jeff Williams became the U.S. record-holder for most time spent in orbit. Previously NASA astronaut Scott Kelly holds the record with 520 days in space. The world record is been set by  Russian Gennady Padalka who spent 879 days in space.

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Nasa quoted “Williams, along with Russian astronauts Alexy Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka landed their Russian-made Soyuz capsule in central Kazakhstan just after 7 a.m. local time Wednesday.” About three and a half hours prior to their landing the three men disembarked from the space station.

In a statement, NASA called Williams “instrumental in preparing the station for future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft.” Nasa quoted that “Williams had performed five space walks during his time at the space station, one of which included the installation of a docking station for the commercial flights.”

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Russian Anatoly Ivanishin took command after Williams left the space station.Ivanishin remained in the space station with American Kate Rubins and Japan’s Takuya Onishi.

“Vast gratitude toward my crewmates, ground teams, supporting friends, and family.” Along with a picture of the Earth’s outer atmosphere, Williams posted on Twitter that “I would certainly miss this view!” (VOA)

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US Navy Ship Sails Near Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea

It was the second U.S. military freedom of navigation exercise in the region in the last month

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US, Navy Ship, Scarborough Shoal
A China Coast Guard vessel patrols at the disputed Scarborough Shoal April 6, 2017. VOA

The US military said one of its warships in the South China Sea sailed Monday near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China and the Philippines.

“USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, Commander Clay Doss said.

US, Navy Ship, Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said “routine” freedom of navigation operations will proceed with transparency, consistency and predictability. Pixabay

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It was the second U.S. military freedom of navigation exercise in the region in the last month.

Speaking at an international security conference in Singapore Wednesday, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said “routine” freedom of navigation operations will proceed with transparency, consistency and predictability. (VOA)