NASA astronaut and 2 Russian cosmonauts return to Earth

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The Soyuz MS-02 space capsule descends before landing. Borisenko and Kimbrough are both wrapping up their second visit to space.

"Sergei, Andrei and I certainly want to thank Peggy, Oleg, and Thomas". There are thirteen Russians who have spent more time in space.

NASA announced Wednesday that astronaut Peggy Whitson will remain on the International Space Station until September.

This mission - her third - will now last close to 10 months.

Zee News reported that during Kimbrough's stay on board the orbiting station, he and Expedition 50 crew members were able to contribute to experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical sciences and Earth sciences.

Two NASA astronauts working on the International Space Station managed to lose one of the four thermal shields that they were supposed to be installing as it simply floated away into space somewhere.

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Shane Kimbrough said during the command ceremony aired on NASA TV that Whitson will also be the first two-time female commander of the ISS. It's just one of many records Whitson is breaking during her mission.

"Up here we don't wear shoes, but Shane is leaving some really big socks for me to fill", replied Whitson.

On April 5, NASA revealed that Whitson was poised to break the record for the cumulative time spent in space by an American astronaut.

Former commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson had the mission to install the thermal shield, but they lost it. NASA didn't explain how this happened, but the piece is indeed gone. During their stay, Kimbrough performed three spacewalks to swap out batteries and fix the outside of the ISS - bringing his total number of career spacewalks to six. MS-02 finally touched Earth at 11:21 UTC near Dzheskazgan town.

Along the way, the astronauts on the space station completed 2,768 orbits of the planet - a voyage of some 73.2 million miles.

"Touchdown! Exp 50 crew lands in Kazakhstan at 7:20am ET after 173 days in space", NASA's page for updates from the International Space Station said in a tweet. 'We get the ability up here to interact with things that actually benefit all of humanity.