Undocking problems delay space station departure

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ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN (AP) - The return of three astronauts to Earth onboard a Soyuz capsule from the International Space Station has been delayed after crew ran into problems while undocking.

U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson and Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko were due to land Friday morning local time in the central steppes of Kazakhstan.

NASA spokesman Rob Navias said in a live broadcast that undocking would be pushed back by at least three hours because of problems opening hooks and latches on the space station side of the capsule.

Navias said 12 Russian search-and-recovery Mi-8 helicopters on the ground in Kazakhstan have been ordered to redeploy to a spot closer a new planned landing site.

The Soyuz crew are reported to be in good shape.

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