US astronauts' return may be sped by summit

Officials in Kazakhstan say the return to Earth of three astronauts from the International Space Station may be brought forward to next week so it doesn't clash with an international security summit.

The barren steppe of the Central Asian nation is most often the return destination for astronauts after a stint aboard the orbiting laboratory.

U.S. astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker and Russia's Fyodor Yurchikhin had been due to land Nov. 30. Kazakh officials have requested that air space be kept clear for the Dec. 1-2 summit by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The capital city, Astana, where the summit is due to be held, is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from the planned landing site.