<p>Support workers help astronauts out of a Russian Soyuz capsule shortly after landing in a remote part of Kazakhstan on Tuesday, local time. The capsule carried NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa back to Earth after the three men had spent more than five months aboard the <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html">International Space Station</a>.</p><p>The landing marks the first time astronauts have returned to Earth from the space station since <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110707-space-shuttle-launch-final-mission/">NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in July</a>.</p>

Astronaut Homecoming

Support workers help astronauts out of a Russian Soyuz capsule shortly after landing in a remote part of Kazakhstan on Tuesday, local time. The capsule carried NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa back to Earth after the three men had spent more than five months aboard the International Space Station.

The landing marks the first time astronauts have returned to Earth from the space station since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in July.

Photograph courtesy Bill Ingalls, NASA

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