The first South Korean astronaut and other two space crew members are safe after a tough return to the earth and very rough landing.

A Russian space capsule carrying the three astronauts received a technical problem on its way back to earth from the space forcing it to land west of the targeted area, about 260 miles off-course in Kazakhstan on Saturday, but all the crew were announced safe after rescue from their emergency landing site.

The capsule landed with an overshoot but such things always happen, said Valery Lyndin, space mission control spokesman.

The crew in the capsule included Yi So-yeon, a 29 year old nanotechnology engineer from Seoul, and the first Korean astronaut; Peggy Whitson, a U.S. commander; and a Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko.

The head of Russia's Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov said the capsule landed so far off course because of a ballistic landing when the capsule followed a much steeper and shorter trajectory to the earth.

Last year in October, a similar incident occurred when a Soyuz capsule carrying Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, an orthopedic surgeon from Kuala Lumpur, landed about 125 miles off course in a similar ballistic landing due to a cable glitch.

Also in 2003, a U.S.-Russian crew lost radio contact on re-entry, landing about 500 km off course.

The Soyuz space capsule, which is an early version of the craft, the Vostok, that took the world's first cosmonaut into orbit in 1961, has been in use for a very long time.