A Russian Soyuz capsule landed on the Kazakh steppe on Monday, delivering a trio of astronauts from a four-month stint on the International Space Station.
The Soyuz TMA-05M capsule, carrying Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Sunita Williams, parachuted through dark, cloudy skies and touched down at 7:56 am local time (0156 GMT).
"We have landing!" footage from Russian Mission Control, broadcast by NASA TV and Russian state television, showed. Search-and-recovery helicopters were on their way to the landing site, near the northern Kazakh town of Arkalyk.
The crew returned after spending 125 days aboard the International Space Station, a $100 billion research complex involving 15 countries and orbiting 240 miles (385 km) above Earth.
(Reporting by Robin Paxton; editing by Philip Barbara)