Major Tim Is Back

Sussex astronaut Tim Peake has returned to Earth in dramatic style after six-month's on the International Space Station.

His Soyuz space capsule parachuted down to a remote spot in the vast scrubland steppe of Kazakhstan, landing at 10.15am UK time.

The craft landed on its side as the wind caught the parachute that had slowed the astronauat's descent.

Travelling with Major Peake were crewmates American Nasa astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko

A rescue and recovery team raced to the landing site almost 300 miles south west of the major city of Karaganda.

The space travellers were pulled one-by-one from the Soyuz and placed in comfortable seats.

Tim Peake had his eyes closed and looked exhausted at first, but then smiled and gave a thumbs up to waiting reporters.

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.'' He added he wanted his first meal back on earth to be pizza and a cold beer.

Tim Peake and his fellow crew members will now be taken into the care of medical experts and begin the lengthy process of readjusting to Earth's gravity.

The three men will be flown by helicopter to Karaganda. There local dignitaries will hold a traditional welcoming ceremony and offer them gifts of bread and salt and a traditional Kazak hat.

Tim Peake will travel to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, to be re-united with his family.

His parents, Nigel and Angela Peake, have praised their son for "a job well done".

Nigel Peake said: "We had a wonderful launch in December and to see that come down was magnificent.

"We're so proud of him and what he's achived and so grateful he was given the opportunity."