Tim Peake still receiving medical treatment since landing back on Earth this morning

The crew have spent 186 days on the International Space Station

ESA, return to earth, British astronaut, Tim Peake, Tim Kopra, Yuri Malenchenko,

One of the astronauts is taken away after landing | Image: ESA

Updated: 21.00

Tim Peake will not attend an official welcome ceremony at Karaganda airport in Kazakhstan this evening, in order to receive medical treatment.

Peake was one of three astronauts that are back on Earth after six months on the International Space Station (ISS).

A Soyuz capsule touched down in Kazakhstan several hours after the three men closed the hatch between the station and the spacecraft at precisely 3.34am, marking the official end of ISS Expedition 47 and Major Peake's Principia mission.

British astronaut Tim Peake returned to Earth, along with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Soyuz spacecraft commander Yuri Malenchenko.

Earlier, he said a few words after the Soyuz capsule carrying him and two crew members touched down at around 10 o'clock this morning:

The capsule undocked from from the ISS and began the journey back to Earth, a trip that took just a few hours.

Spotter planes monitored the capsule as it descended through the lower atmosphere. Then, once it has landed on the steppe, 12 helicopters and six all-terrain vehicles sped towards them.

Within minutes the search and rescue team lifted the astronauts one by one through the narrow hatch on the capsule, which had landed on its side.

Image: ESA

Because the amount of blood in their bodies has decreased while in microgravity, there was a risk the crew would faint if they attempt to stand, so they were carried horizontally to reclining chairs a short distance away.

Medics then checked the cosmonauts' blood pressure before they were allowed to phone their families. After further checks and scientific experiments in a medical tent the crew will be taken individually in helicopters to Karaganda, two hours away.

Mission controllers were able to target the landing zone with extraordinary accuracy. Despite the Soyuz spacecraft orbiting at almost 17,500mph at an altitude of 250 miles before re-entry, they had a target of just 30 miles across.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos issued a map marked with the various landing options. These are determined by the precise orbits of the International Space Station.

Most re-entries occur in just one orbit after leaving the ISS - so-called "Orbit 1."

Image: ESA 

There have been three ballistic re-entries in the last 13 years. The last was in 2008 with Yuri Malenchenko - the commander of Peake's spacecraft - on board.

Hospitals across the region were on standby in case of a medical emergency.

Peake and US astronaut Tim Kopra will board a NASA plane to Norway, where the British spaceman will switch to a European Space Agency flight back to its headquarters in Cologne to be re-united with his family.

Former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao says it takes a while to get back to full fitness.