A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying three astronauts from the International Space Station has landed safely in the frozen Kazakhstan steppe.

The trio of NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Maxim Suraev of Russia landed as scheduled at 9:58 a.m. local time Monday (0358 GMT Monday, 10:58 p.m. EST Sunday). They had spent more than five months in orbit, doing research and helping maintain the space outpost orbiting the Earth.

A key research focus during their mission was human health management for long-duration space travel. NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to have two crew members spend one full year aboard the space station beginning in 2015.

NASA's Barry Wilmore and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova remained on the space station.