Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins waves from the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft just minutes after landing. NASA/AFP
Russia's Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov as well as NASA's Kate Rubins landed on barren land at 0455 GMT around 150 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan.
The Soyuz descent module carring the trio landed upright after descending through a cloudless sky on a fine spring day in central Kazakhstan, a Roscosmos TV commentator confirmed.
Molecular biologist Rubins, 42, and former military pilot Ryzhikov, 46, were rounding off their second missions in space having both made their ISS debuts following launches in July and October of 2016 respectively.
Kud'-Sverchkov, 39, another ex-military man, was completing his first mission.
Cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov waves outside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft on Saturday. NASA/AFP
Footage from the landing site showed Rubins smiling as she received a bouquet of flowers from retired cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who was there to greet the crew.
"It is great to be on this side of things," Rubins said.
She will return to NASA's hub in Houston while colleagues Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are bound for Moscow as they wind down their missions.
During her debut mission in 2016, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space.
In her second mission she continued her sequencing activities, worked on cariovascular experiments and oversaw a small patch of radishes "as they grew in orbit... harvesting them for analysis back on Earth", according to NASA.
Busy orbital lab
For the last decade, the space station's population has typically varied between three and six as crews that blasted off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan came and went.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX last year broke the monopoly that Russia and Baikonur had held on manned launches since the mothballing of the US shuttle programme in 2011, beginning a new chapter of spaceflight from US soil.
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft about to land in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. NASA/AFP
As a result the number of crew on board will reach 11 next week with the arrival of NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency are expected to dock with the ISS next Friday, with the four-person crew they are replacing scheduled to return to Earth on April 28.
The absolute record for people aboard the ISS was set in 2009, when an arriving crew took the orbital lab's population to 13.
That is also the joint all-time record for the most people in space at any one time after seven astronauts were aboard the NASA space shuttle Endeavour and a six-man crew was aboard the Mir space station simultaneously in March 1995.
Continuously occupied for more than 20 years, the ISS is expected to be retired before the end of the decade, raising questions about future cooperation between Russia and the West in space.
NASA on Friday said it had selected SpaceX to develop a spacecraft to land the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon since 1972 -- a huge victory for Elon Musk's company.
April 12 marked the sixtieth anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic mission marking the beginning of human spaceflight and a key moment in the space race between Moscow and the West.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union there has been more cooperation than competition, although it is difficult to disguise the appearance that Roscosmos and NASA are going their separate ways as the ISS winds down.
UAE leaders took to social media to congratulate Hazzaa Al Mansoori on his safe return to earth after spending eight days at ISS.
An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts touched down on the Kazakhstan steppe on Thursday, completing a 196-day mission that began with the first launch under lockdown conditions.
"We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. "For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer programme, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”
"We'll take those miles,” said spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. "Are they transferrable?” SpaceX replied that the astronauts would have to check with the company's
The Dubai Criminal Court sentenced a taxi driver to two years in jail on charges of deliberately running over a man while the latter was crossing a street in Al Satwa, causing him a permanent disability estimated at 100 per cent, before running away in his car.
A number of officials accompanied by senior members of the Royal Family were at Abu Dhabi airport for the interaction with PM.
The initiative aims to strengthen Dubai’s position as one of the best business hubs in the world in addition to supporting companies based in Dubai by providing them with logistical support to expand their operations in more than 30 promising markets.