British astronaut Tim Peake has made a dramatic return to Earth after six months on the International Space Station (ISS), describing it as "the best ride I've been on ever".
His space capsule parachuted down on to a remote patch of the vast Kazakhstan steppe to land on a cushion of fire from its retro rockets at 10.15am UK time.
A gust of wind rolled the tiny craft, measuring just over six feet across, on its side before the arrival of the recovery team, but all three crew members were said to be in good shape.
One by one they were lifted out of the capsule, charred by the heat of re-entry, and placed in comfortable chairs.
Peake, travelling with American Nasa astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, was the second to leave the capsule.
Looking exhausted at first, with his eyes closed, he then smiled broadly and gave a thumbs up to TV crews who had travelled to the landing site.
Asked how he felt, he said: "Great, thanks. It was incredible - the best ride I've been on ever.
"I'm just truly elated. The smells of the Earth are so strong. It's just wonderful to feel the fresh air.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the family now."
After speaking to the media and his family on the phone, Peake and his crew members were carried away to the helicopter travel to to Karaganda airport where, according to tradition, they will be offered bread and salt and a traditional Kazakh hat.
Peake will then be flown to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, while his US and Russian colleagues go to Houston and Star City, near Moscow.