Illini graduate lands after 6 months in space

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URBANA, IL (AP) – University of Illinois graduate Mike Hopkins was a member of the crew that landed safely after spending nearly six months on the International Space Station.

Hopkins and two Russian astronauts landed late Monday in Kazakhstan. They spent 166 days in orbit on the space station.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-10M capsule descended slowly by parachute. Rescue crews said the astronauts were fine and in good spirits.

Heavy snowfalls and strong winds at the landing site had prompted Russian space officials to consider putting off the landing by a day, but they eventually decided to proceed with the original plan.

Hopkins is a 1991 engineering graduate and was co-captain of the Illini football team.

Previous story: Missouri astronaut returns to Earth on Monday

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