April 10 (UPI) -- After 173 days in space, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is back on Earth. The Expedition 50 commander was one of three space station crew members to return home aboard the Soyuz capsule on Monday.
The craft touched down near the Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan at 7:20 a.m. EDT. The capsule's descent was slowed by a single, giant parachute.
"It was a textbook touchdown," spokesperson Rob Navias said during NASA TV live coverage of the landing. "The Soyuz was pulled by its main parachute onto its side, but the crew was quickly extracted and are in good shape."
Kimbrough was accompanied by Russian cosmonauts and flight engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko on the return trip.
While aboard the International Space Station, Kimbrough helped conduct a variety of scientists experiments. He also participated in four spacewalks, during which he installed lithium-ion batteries and new heat shields -- one of which was lost and is currently orbiting a few feet inform on the space station.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is now in charge of Expedition 51, which includes French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. Astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin will join the space station crew later this month.