A Soyuz capsule carrying American Mike Hopkins and Russians Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy has returned to Earth after they spent nearly six months on the International Space Station. The capsule touched down onto the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan as scheduled.

Heavy snowfalls and strong winds at the landing site had prompted Russian space officials to consider putting off the landing by a day, but they eventually decided to proceed with the original plan.

While they were in space, the two Russian Cosmonauts took the Olympic torch on a spacewalk, tethered to their spacesuits.

Former ISS commander Oleg Kotov (C) and flight engineers Sergei Ryazansky (L) and Michael Hopkins from NASA sit in chairs outside the Soyuz TMA-10M capsule shortly after they landed in a remote area of KazakhstanReuters
thumbs up
Left: Former ISS commander Oleg Kotov gives a thumbs-up; Right: Astronaut Michael Hopkins from NASA talks to his family via a satellite phoneReuters
Engineers document cargo as it is unloaded from the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft after it landed near the town of Zhezkazgan, KazakhstanGetty
blast off
September 25, 2013: A Soyuz TMA-10M rocket bearing Expedition 37 crew members Russian flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov lifts off from the Baikonur CosmodromeGetty
September 25, 2013: The Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft approaches the International Space Station, carrying Expedition 37 Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov, NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins and Russian Flight Engineer Sergey RyazanskiyNasa/Reuters
November 9, 2013: Russian astronaut Oleg Kotov holds an Olympic torch as he prepares to take it on a spacewalk outside the International Space StationNasa/Reuters
hopkins space
December 24, 2013: Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, participates in the second of two spacewalks designed to allow the crew to change a faulty water pump on the exterior of the International Space StationNasa/Reuters
landing site
The Soyuz landing site in a remote area southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan is seen from a helicopterReuters