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Summary

  1. British astronaut Tim Peake has returned to Earth after a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS)
  2. During his mission, Major Peake completed the first spacewalk by a UK astronaut and ran the London Marathon
  3. He completed 2,976 orbits of Earth and covered a distance of roughly 125 million km
  4. A Soyuz capsule carrying Major Peake, American Tim Kopra and Russian Yuri Malenchenko touched down in Kazakhstan at 10:15 BST on Saturday
  5. Tim Peake described his journey back to Earth as "the best ride I've been on ever"

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Amos, Helen Briggs and Paul Rincon

All times stated are UK

Welcome home, Major Tim

As the British astronaut heads for Norway, en route to Germany and a reunion with his wife Rebecca and their two boys, we're going to sign off our coverage on this page. Thanks for being with us today.

It's a shame we didn't get to have a sit-down Q&A with Tim, but a media conference has been scheduled for Tuesday and, of course, we'll be across that here on BBC News. 

Tim Peake
AFP

And to tide you over, enjoy a selection of Tim's photos of Planet Earth.

Tim Peake: A compilation of the UK astronaut's best photos and comments.

"In the edit"

Our science editor is now preparing his report for the evening news.

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Up close to the Soyuz capsule

Our science editor gets a rare glimpse of the capsule that carried the space farers.

Still hot after landing, the charred but intact Soyuz capsule - never so close to a space adventure #WelcomeHomeTim

Still hot after landing, the charred but intact Soyuz capsule - never so close to a space adventure #WelcomeHomeTim

Still smiling

...and the men do indeed come out of the back room to be taken straight to the Nasa Gulfstream jet that will transport them to Norway. Sarah Rainsford reports that Tim is still smiling, so he must be in decent shape.

In Norway, the Gulfstream will land to allow Tim Peake to board another plane to Cologne in Germany. Cologne is the HQ of the European Space Agency's astronaut operations.

Tim Kopra will go on to the US.

Cameras down... out of courtesy

Our Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford says they have been asked not to film the astronauts when they are taken to the plane. "They may be feeling a little overwhelmed," she says. 

They're currently in a back room at the airport receiving medical attention. All the officials around Sarah stress there is nothing wrong. The men are just very, very tired. "They've just come back from space."

"Very tired"

We hear from our team at Karagandy that the reason the two Tims didn't join Yuri Malenchenko for the press conference is because they are exhausted. But nothing to worry about, say Russian officials. 

Who can blame them? That's quite an experience they've been through today.

We'll see if they have the energy to make an appearance a bit later.

Russian hero

We've currently got just Yuri Malenchenko in the press conference. Neither Tim Peake nor Tim Kopra are present. We're not sure why at the moment. 

Remember, after today, Malenchenko becomes the second most experienced spaceman in history, having spent a cumulative time in orbit of 827 days. A remarkable achievement.

Only Gennadi Padalka has more. A total of 878 days.

Malenchenko
BBC

Scott Kelly tweets

Awesome to see my former #Exp46 crew mates @astro_tim @astro_timpeake and Malenchenko safely back on Earth!

Awesome to see my former #Exp46 crew mates @astro_tim @astro_timpeake and Malenchenko safely back on Earth!

Press conference due soon

We're expecting to hear from the Expedition 47 crew very shortly. There'll be a short ceremony where they'll receive a matryoshka doll bearing their faces, together with some local traditional clothing.

Matryoshka doll bearing image of Tim Peake
BBC

Our Moscow correspondent tweets

Sarah Rainsford says Tim Peake is still smiling.

How are your legs feeling Tim? Heavy! Looked a bit shakier than after landing- but still smiling )) #WelcomeHomeTim

How are your legs feeling Tim? Heavy! Looked a bit shakier than after landing- but still smiling )) #WelcomeHomeTim

When was peak Peake?

BBC News readers have been describing their favourite moments from the mission.

"I have found it incredible the interest that my four-year-old daughter has taken in Tim Peake's adventures. The videos that he has produced and put on YouTube have enthralled her for the past six months - on a weekly basis," says Emma Palmer, from Essex.         

Tim Peake
NASA/ESA

Tim Peake lands at Karagandy

Tim Peake walks from his helicopter at Karagandy ready for a welcome ceremony.

Tim Peake
BBC

Our science editor tweets

His full report from the day will be on the main evening news tonight on BBC One at 22:15 BST.

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Booming industry

Britain’s space sector was recently valued at £12bn – double what it was a decade ago.

Its world-leading satellite businesses and contributions to major space projects now support more than 115,000 jobs.

Britain's hidden role in the space race

Inmarsat satellite
Airbus

Funny feet?

Living in microgravity can have all kinds of strange effects on the human body. But in this exclusive video for the BBC, Tim describes an unusual one, which affects the soles of his feet.

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Mission review

While we wait for the media conference coming up later this afternoon, watch some of the highlights from Tim Peake's 186 days in orbit.

Tim Peake: Watch key moments from the UK astronaut's mission

Re-live that landing

This was the moment that Peake, Kopra and Malenchenko touched down.

UK astronaut returns: The moment Peake fell to Earth

They're in the air

We're hearing that the helicopters to bring the crew back to Karagandy have now taken off.  It's a near two-hour flight.

Where did you watch?

A huge crowd gathered at the National Space Centre in Leicester this morning to watch the landing on the big screen. They had quite a time by all accounts.

"Every moment throughout his journey, we've been following him here," the visitor attraction's Dr Tamela Maciel said. "We've been amazed by the response."

Crowd
NSC

Pizza and cool beer

Top of Tim's wish list. 

Peake returns to Earth: 'Best ride I've been on ever'

What's next?

Once all the medical checks are complete at the landing site, the crew are taken to Karagandy by helicopter. They should arrive there sometime between 14:30 and 15:00 BST.  

There is expected then to be a short media conference, before Tim Kopra and Tim Peake board a Nasa Gulfstream. This will take them first to Norway, where the European astronaut will get off to change planes to go to Cologne in Germany. It is in Cologne that Esa has its astronaut centre.

Tim Kopra will carry on to the States.

We'll hope to get a few words with the crew in Karagandy.

Picture feed from Nasa

If you want to get more hi-res images from the landing, go to Nasa's Expedition 47 Flickr feed.

Tim Kopra
NASA
Just fine now: Tim Kopra was said to be a little queasy on landing

A Sky Full of Stars

Tim had his playlist for going into orbit and Coldplay were on it. Chris Martin and the band send their regards.

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Orange flame

In this image taken from a helicopter, it is possible to see the flame of the retro-rockets that were fired just before impact to further slow the capsule. 

Touchdown
NASA

The smile says it all

Here's a nice one of Tim, taken as he was moved to the medical tent.

Tim Peake
NASA

What makes an Esa astronaut?

Since The European Space Agency (Esa) was established in 1975, 28 astronauts have been recruited by the agency. Fifteen of them are still active today.

How did Tim Peake become an astronaut?

Infographic
BBC

Thud! The moment of touchdown

This is the view the chasing helicopters had of the moment the Soyuz hit the ground. As we reported earlier, the wind caught the large chute after the landing and pulled the capsule over on to its side. Yuri Malenchenko told the recovery teams that there was nothing unusual about the touchdown - neither harder, nor softer than what he had experienced before.

Touchdown
NASA

The new reality

So, what does Tim Peake face in the weeks ahead? For a start, he's got to train his brain to understand that things have weight again. They don't just hang in space anymore. A lot more effort is required to move things.

It's a physical and a psychological challenge, according to French astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy.

Clervoy - who flew in space three times in the 1990s - told BBC News: "You feel very, very heavy... It takes about a month to feel back to normal."

Tim Peake faces physical and mental challenges after landing, says a fellow astronaut.

"The best ride, ever"

That's how Tim Peake described the descent from orbit.

Capsule
NASA
Hi-res images are now coming back from the landing site

For the album

Expedition 47 back on Earth

Peake, Malenchenko and Kopra on a warm afternoon on the Steppe
NASA

Goodbye, hello

Major Peake, Colonel Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko leave behind three astronauts on the space station: American Jeff Williams and Russians Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka.

The next launch to complete what is called Expedition 48 is set for 7 July. A Soyuz will take up Russian cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and Kate Rubins of the US.

Congratulations Tim...

...from all here at the BBC.

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A little charred

The capsule shows the effects of the high-temperature re-entry.

Soyuz
NASA

Close to bulls-eye

Russian officials report the capsule touched down about 8km from the targeted site.  

'Hale and hearty'

All three crew members are looking remarkably relaxed after the landing. They're undergoing routine medical checks before boarding three separate helicopters to be flown to Karagandy Airport.

Tim Peake at the landing site
ESA

The other "passengers"

Tim has brought back some experiments with him today. 

Under his seat were microorganisms and organic molecules that have been sitting on the outside the ISS. The Open University team behind the study wants to know whether microorganisms are able to survive the extreme conditions of outer space   

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First things first

Tim Kopra calls the family before being taken to the medical tent.

Kopra
NASA

Cool customer

Yuri Malenchenko has done it all before. He is now the second most experienced spaceman in history, having spent more than 800 days in orbit over several flights. 

Only Gennady Padalka has spent more time in space, at 878 days.

Yuri Malenchenko
NASA