Tim Peake returns to Earth after International Space Station mission

Tim Peake. Picture by PA.

Tim Peake. Picture by PA.

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British astronaut Tim Peake has returned to Earth in dramatic style after ending the six-month International Space Station (ISS) mission that earned him an honour from the Queen for "extraordinary service beyond our planet".

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

Picture via PA.

Picture via PA.

First reports said the craft had landed on its side, having been caught by the wind. This is not unusual, according to mission controllers.

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.

In the last few minutes of the descent the Soyuz was filmed floating through banks of white cloud beneath its huge main parachute canopy, which covers 10,764 square feet.

Picture via PA.

Picture via PA.

One second before touchdown six retro-rockets beneath the space capsule are supposed to fire and slow the impact speed to 3mph.

No confirmation has yet been received that the rockets did fire.

Technicians are now surrounding the capsule preparing to open the hatch and extract Major Peake and his two crew

Picture by PA

Picture by PA

Tim Peake. Picture by PA.

Tim Peake. Picture by PA.