Space tourist returns to earth

Three space explorers including American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari today began getting reacquainted with their home planet, undergoing medical checks and coping with the unfamiliarity of gravity.

Three space explorers including American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari today began getting reacquainted with their home planet, undergoing medical checks and coping with the unfamiliarity of gravity.

Ansari, Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and US astronaut Jeffrey Williams were flown to Moscow hours after a bone-rattling journey in a cramped capsule from the international space station to the steppes of Kazakhstan.

They were taken to the Star City Cosmonaut Training Centre outside the capital for medical examinations and debriefing. Russian space officials said all three felt well.

But the rigors of the journey and the readjustment from the weightlessness they had experienced on the ISS were clear as they sat still strapped in their seats outside the capsule.

Ansari, wrapped in a fur-lined blanket to guard against the early morning chill, smiled broadly if a bit dazed as she sat in a chair amid high grass after exiting the Soyuz capsule.

An official presented her with a large bouquet of red roses. Vinogradov and Williams sat nearby, chewing apples in slow-motion as if surprised by their weight.

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