Three astronauts returned from the International Space Station after nearly five months in space on December 11.
A Soyuz capsule carrying Russian Oleg Kononenko, American Kjell Lindgren, and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui landed on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan.
Kononenko reported that the crew was feeling fine. Russian rescue teams in four helicopters arrived quickly at the landing site to help the crew get out of the capsule, which rested on its side in the snow.
Because of the freezing temperatures and strong winds, the crew was quickly flown to Dzhezkazgan after a brief inspection by doctors. In better weather, the crew undergoes a post-flight medical check-up in a tent at the landing site.
Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and crewmates Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Russia remain on the station. They will be joined by three new crew members on December 15 : NASA's Tim Kopra, Russia's Yuri Malenchenko and the European Space Agency's Tim Peake.
Based on reporting by AP and dpa