Astronauts Reveal What It's Like to Come Back From Space

"I craved the aroma of leaves and grass and flowers," said one astronaut.

— -- American astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren is back on Earth after spending 141 days at the International Space Station.

The space traveler successfully landed in Kazakhstan today at 8:12 a.m. ET, along with Russia's Oleg Kononenko and Japan's Kimiya Yui. The trio rode back to Earth in Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.

After undocking and firing the engines, Lindgren experienced an approximately 45 minute free-fall to Earth.

Doug Wheelock, a NASA astronaut who has spent 178 days in space over the course of two missions, told ABC News earlier this year that "there is a bit of sadness leaving this incredible home orbiting the Earth but you’re ready to come back, as most people are."

Wheelock said he was able to see pieces of the Soyuz spacecraft's heat shield melting off as he re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

"When you hit, some people stick the landing," Wheelock said. "We bounced. We hit again and rolled over. It depends on the winds and things like that and then it’s about 10-20 minutes before they open the hatch and pull you out."

"It is a feast for the senses," he said. "It's incredibly bumpy and hot and cramped. You have a lot of G-forces pushing you down."

After months in space, it's not always easy to arrive home with two feet firmly on the ground.

"You've got this little bit of paranoia that you want to be able to stand up when you walk home," Wheelock said. "You feel the physiological changes when you get to space and you are beginning to feel that your body and brain think you don’t need your legs anymore."

Clay Anderson, who has spent 167 days in space over the course of two missions, said aside from seeing family, the next thing most astronauts want most is to take care of the cravings they weren't able to indulge in during space.

After his dizzying return home, Wheelock said a big meal wasn't the first item he enjoyed. Instead, it was the simple smell of "Earthiness."

"Your sense of smell and taste are dulled in space. I craved the aroma of leaves and grass and flowers and trees," he said. "These things are not present on the space station. When you get back to Earth they are literally intoxicating."