Astronauts return to Earth after six months on International Space Station

A Soyuz capsule carrying two Russians and one American landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday, ending the astronauts' nearly six months aboard the International Space Station.

The capsule carried Russians Alexander Samokutayev and Elena Serova and NASA's Barry Wilmore, who blasted off for the space station on Sept. 26.

The capsule landed upright in heavy fog southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan on the Kazakh steppes. Despite the poor visibility, recovery workers arrived within several minutes and all three astronauts were extracted within a half-hour.

They were taken to recliner-style chairs set up near the capsule, to begin their readjustment to gravity and undergo brief medical tests. All three appeared in good condition, and Serova smiled broadly as she sat in the chair bundled up against temperatures a few degrees below freezing.

Three other astronauts remain aboard the space station. They will be joined by three others on March 27; two of those -- Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko -- are to spend a full year on the ISS.