(Reuters) - A capsule carrying U.S., Russian and Italian astronauts from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a five-month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed.
The spacecraft brought back Randy Bresnik from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sergey Ryazanskiy from Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Italy's Paolo Nespoli with the European Space Agency.
The capsule landed in the windswept and snow-covered steppe in Kazakhstan's central Karaganda region at 2.37 p.m. (0837 GMT).
Smiling Ryazanskiy was the first to emerge from the capsule's hatch, assisted by rescue workers.
The trio's departure has reduced to just three the crew of the ISS, a $100 billion lab that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
On Dec. 17, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishege Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, also in Kazakhstan, to join the ISS crew.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by John Stonestreet and Edmund Blair)