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Having made the ISS cool again, Hadfield returns to Earth

After five tweet- and pic-filled months on the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield lands in Kazakhstan as a world superstar.

Now back on Earth, Chris Hadfield has been called the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong.
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

The one-man media machine has landed.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth in a Soyuz descent capsule after his six-month stint on the International Space Station, during which he became an Internet sensation.

Along with ISS crewmates American astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romaneko, Hadfield was extracted from the capsule in the Kazakhstan morning (around 10:31 p.m. ET) following a smooth descent.

Hadfield, the last to emerge from the capsule, waved and gave a thumbs-up once he was propped in a chair in the sunshine.

The trio is to be whisked off by helicopter to Karaganda, Kazakhstan, for medical checks. Hadfield and Marshburn are slated to catch a NASA flight to Houston, arriving late Tuesday.

During his time aboard the ISS, Hadfield accomplished many firsts, including becoming the first Canadian to command the station, the first music video in space, and the first launch of a bank note from space. In February, he performed a song with the Barenaked Ladies in what was the first music collaboration from space.

He also become a social media sensation, uploading spectacular photos of Earth and videos of everyday life on the station that generated millions of views. Check out some of his pics in the gallery below.

He's been called the most popular astronaut since Neil Armstrong, but much of what Hadfield did on the ISS didn't make headlines. For instance, he worked on more than 130 experiments, including the effects of zero gravity on embryonic stem cells, as well as how magnetic particles can dampen vibrations.

He also did numerous teleconferences and singalongs with schoolkids across Canada, inspiring many to become interested in space, science, and technology. Check out some of his video highlights below, including his finale cover of David Bowie's hit "Space Oddity."

"He proved that humanity, humor, and genuine warmth could reach Earth from the confines of a tin can 'far above the world,'" Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper wrote in an editorial.

"By doing so, he brought humankind's exploration of space into people's lives in a personal way, and may have given the International Space Station new life."

But above all, he made the ISS cool again.

Wringing out a washcloth

Clipping your nails on the ISS

Tears in space

Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies: I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)

Hadfield singing "Space Oddity"