Three International Space Station astronauts land in Kazakhstan

June 18, 2016 by Vladimir Isachenkov
Member of the International Space Station (ISS) crew Britain's Tim Peake gestures shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

An International Space Station crew including an American, a Briton and a Russian landed safely Saturday in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and the Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko touched down as scheduled at 3:15 p.m. local time (0915 GMT) about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

All descent maneuvers were performed without any hitches and the crew reported feeling fine as their ship slid off the orbit and headed down to Earth. Helicopters carrying recovery teams were circling the area as the capsule was descending slowly under a massive orange-and-white parachute.

Support crew helped the trio get out of the capsule, charred by a fiery descent through the atmosphere, and placed them in reclining chairs for a quick check-up.

Squinting at the sun, Peake said he felt "elated," adding that "the smells of Earth are just so strong."

"I'd love some cool rain right now!" he said with a smile as he sat in scorching heat in his balky spacesuit.

After a medical check-up, the crew will change their spacesuits for regular clothing and be flown separately to their respective bases.

Member of the International Space Station (ISS) crew Tim Kopra of US speaks on a satellite phone shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

Maj. Peake, a 44-year-old former army helicopter pilot, has become a hero at home, helping rekindle an interest in exploration.

He was not the first Briton in space. Helen Sharman visited Russia's Mir in 1991 on a privately backed mission and several British-born American citizens flew with NASA's .

But Peake is Britain's first publicly funded British astronaut and the first Briton to visit the International Space Station. He performed the first British space walk and was honored by Queen Elizabeth II in her annual Birthday Honors List.

He excited many at home by joining the 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) London Marathon—from 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth, harnessed to a treadmill aboard the ISS with a simulation of the route through London's streets playing on an iPad.

Member of the International Space Station (ISS) crew Russia's Yuri Malenchenko rests shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

Peake finished the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes, a record for the fastest marathon in orbit, according to Guinness World Records.

The trio spent 186 days in space since their launch in December 2015. They have conducted hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

"I'm going to miss the view definitely," Peake said after landing.

NASA said the data received would help in the potential development of vaccines and could be relevant in the treatment of patients suffering from ocular diseases, such as glaucoma.

Ground personnel carry International Space Station crew member Britain's Tim Peake shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

For Malenchenko, it was a sixth mission, and he logged up a total of 828 days in space, the second-longest accumulated time in space after Russian Gennady Padalka. Kopra has logged up 244 days in space on two flights.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams along with Russians Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will operate the station for three weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.

The International Space Station crew, from left, Britain's Tim Peake, Russia's Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra of US, surrounded by ground personnel, rest shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko descends beneath a parachute near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko lands near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko lands near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
Search and rescue team members roll the Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko, shortly after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. A three-person crew from the International Space Station has landed safely in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
A Russian Mi-8 helicopter before flying to the landing area of the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members, Tim Peake of Britain, Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Tim Kopra of the U.S., at the airport of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Saturday, June 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Shamil Zhumatov, pool)

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DK73
5 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2016
Welcome back to Earth! I salut you all
Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2016
Likewise here. The Brit and the American look happy to be back, but Yuri not so much. Perhaps he dreads all the tests he will have to undergo. Probing and examining for science's sake.
Nik_2213
3 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2016
With apologies to their undoubted skill, determination and courage, half a century after the Moon landings, the current generation of Astronauts paddle coracles to their sea-loch's ageing crannog, rather than sail the seas beyond...
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2016
Likewise here. The Brit and the American look happy to be back, but Yuri not so much. Perhaps he dreads all the tests he will have to undergo. Probing and examining for science's sake.

Maybe he's got a wife and 6 kids to deal with when he's on ground...:-)

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