Astronaut Chris Hadfield and two of his crew members, flight engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko, are back on terra firma today, after having returned safely to Earth early this morning after a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Hadfield, who had been commander of the orbiting outpost, Marshburn and Romanenko returned to Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule, which descended by parachute southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 8.31am Kazakh time (3.31am GMT).
Ground crew helped Hadfield emerge from the tight confines of the capsule after Marshburn and Romanenko. Once seated in a recliner, Hadfield waved, gave a thumbs-up, and made phone calls to friends and family.
NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said the three astronauts were doing very well, CBC News reported.
The astronauts will now return to their respective homes. Hadfield is from Canada, Marshburn is from the US, and Romanenko is from Russia. They travelled almost 99m kilometres (62m miles) while completing 2,336 orbits of Earth.
The trio arrived at the International Space Station on 21 December and spent 146 days in space, 144 of which were aboard the station, US space agency NASA said. During their time in the space lab, they carried out scientific experiments.
Hadfield also shared photos and videos with his followers on Twitter and Facebook and Google+ during his time in space. He recently shared, as a farewell to his mission aboard the International Space Station, a performance of David Bowie’s Space Oddity.
Today he was back on Twitter, to tweet about his safe return to Earth:
Pavel Vinogradov is now in command of the International Space Station, with flight engineer Chris Cassidy and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin also still on board. Three additional crew members, including NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, will join them later this month, with their arrival scheduled for 28 May.