Astronaut Tim Peake arrives safely back on Earth

Sussex astronaut Tim Peake has arrived safely on Earth this morning (Saturday June 18) following his 186 days in space.

Tim Peake. Photo: ESA

The three astronauts landed in the capsule, under the orange and white parachutes, south-west of the major Kazakhstan city of Karaganda.

The capsule landed on its side but reports are that everyone on board is fine.

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The whole return trip went according to plan and exactly to time.

Tim was sat to the right of commander Yuri Malenchenko with NASA’s Tim Kopra on the left.

The trip home involved a descent through the atmosphere in the tiny middle section of the spacecraft, the descent module.

The three astronauts felt their first pull of gravity since leaving Earth 62 miles from Earth.

Helicopters were in the area ready to release the three men.

The Principia mission saw 2,768 orbits of the Earth.

Friction on the capsule’s heat shield slowed its speed from 17,398mph to 514mph and raised the outside temperature to 1,600degC.

The astronauts are being helicoptered to Karaganda airport, where according to tradition they will be offered bread and salt and a traditional Kazak hat.

Major Peake will then be flown to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, while his American and Russian colleagues go their separate ways to Houston and Star City, near Moscow.

The live feed on the European Space Agency’s website was seen, at its peak, by more than 46,000 people during the landing.