Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Expedition 35 Crew Lands Safely in Kazakhstan After 5 Months in Space

At 3:31 a.m. GMT the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft landed safely in Kazakhstan, bringing Expedition 34/35 crew members Chris Hadfield, Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko home after spending 146 days in space.

After arriving at the International Space Station on December 21 2012, the trio joined the Expedition 34 crew and ended up setting a record for the amount of science conducted on the orbiting laboratory since astronauts and cosmonauts began living on the space station in 2000.

The hard work continued as part of Expedition 35, an increment which included two EVAs(one of which was unplanned to fix an ammonia leak)- one Russian and one American. After spending 145 days aboard the ISS, it was time for Soyuz Commander Romanenko, and Flight Engineers Marshburn and Hadfield to close the hatches and say goodbye to their home for the past five months.
Hadfield, Romanenko and Marshburn shortly after landing
credit: NASA

Hatches between the ISS and the departing Soyuz were closed at 8:50 p.m. GMT. The crew then turned their attention to switching the Soyuz onto autonomous power and a series of leak checks were performed soon after.

The Soyuz then undocked from the International Space Station at 12:08 a.m. GMT, as the station flew 255 miles above eastern Mongolia. This officially marked the beginning of Expedition 36.

A series of deorbit burns were then performed at 2:37 a.m. GMT in order to set the Soyuz on course for a landing south-east of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan. Landing itself occurred at 3:31 a.m. GMT in near perfect conditions.

The crew was then extracted one by one from the Soyuz capsule until all crew members sat on their individual recliner couches while being attended to by medical staff, before being carried away to the medical tent which had been set up for the landing process.

The station will remain a three man crew until the launch of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikin, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, which is scheduled for May 28.