An international three-man crew onboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule has touched down successfully in the central Kazakhstan steppe after 123 days at the International Space Station.
Helicopters were deployed to intercept the capsule ahead of its arrival early Monday morning.
NASA's Joe Acaba and Russian colleagues Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin undocked from the orbiting laboratory some 3 1/2 hours before touchdown.
The Soyuz craft remains the only means for international astronauts to reach the space station since the decommissioning of the U.S. Shuttle fleet in 2011.
The size of the three-person complement currently at the space station will be doubled when they are joined next month by U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin.