The Olympic torch for the 2014 Winter Games landed back on Earth early Monday.

The capsule carrying Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg and Italian Luca Parmitano landed safely at 0249 GMT on the Kazakh steppe, US space agency NASA said.

The Soyuz capsule left the International Space Station at 2326 GMT on Sunday.

The torch was handed over between two spacewalkers during the first ever torch relay in space on Saturday.

Mr. Yurchikhin was to hand the unlit Olympic torch over to organizers of the games in Sochi, Russia. It will be used to light the Olympic flame on February 7 next year.