NASA/Bill Ingalls
A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Soyuz commander Mikhail Tyurin touches down in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz fires rockets just before it lands to slow its final impact. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Astronaut and Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio landed safely aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule at 9:58 p.m. EST Tuesday evening, capping an eventful six months aboard the International Space Station both in orbit and on the ground as relations between the United States and Russia deteriorated.

Mastracchio traveled to the station with the Olympic torch and plenty of international optimism on Nov. 7, 2013. Shortly before his return to Earth on Tuesday, rising tensions between the United States and Russia led Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to declare that his country will no longer support the International Space Station past 2020 and will cease supplying rocket engines for U.S. military satellite launches. This move came in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea.

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