Russian actress, director and cosmonaut return to Earth after 12 days on International Space Station making a movie

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An actress and film director have returned to Earth after spending nearly two weeks in space making a movie on the International Space Station.

Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko emerged from the Russian capsule smiling after it landed on the Kazakhstan steppe along with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky inside.

Two of the group had rocketed into orbit on 5 October for a 12-day stint to film segments of a movie called The Challenge, which the Russian space agency Roscosmos said would help attract the "cream of the crop" to the sector.

The movie focuses on the story of a doctor, played by Peresild, who is asked to go to the space station to save the life of a cosmonaut

Roscosmos cosmonauts Mr Novitsky and Peter Dubrov, who were already on board the ISS when the crew docked, and Anton Shkaplerov, who travelled to the ISS with Peresild, also took part in filming the scenes, which were directed on location by Shipenko.

In all, about 35-40 minutes of screen time should have been filmed in orbit.

Analysts have said the Russian movie aimed to be the first to be filmed in space before a Hollywood project announced earlier this year, which involves actor Tom Cruise, NASA and SpaceX.

The capsule landed on schedule at 5.35am UK time on Sunday morning after a three-and-a-half hour journey from the ISS.

Ground crews extracted the three from the capsule and placed them in seats set up nearby as they adjusted to the pull of gravity before taking them to a medical tent for examination.

All looked healthy and cheerful with a beaming Peresild holding a large bouquet of white flowers as reporters clustered around her.

Roscosmos said the recovery of the actress and director will take about a week and their first news conference will be on Tuesday.

Seven astronauts - Russia's Mr Shkaplerov and Mr Dubrov; Americans Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency; and Japan's Aki Hoshide - remain on board the space station.

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