The Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft, carrying Soyuz commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin, and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:29 a.m. Irish Standard Time on September 10.
|Yurchikin and Vinogradov say goodbye before hatch closure|
"We want to continue to do our job well" said Yurchikin.
"We would like to continue this programme. This programme is our future!"
Then the time came when the departing trio said their farewells to the rest of the astronauts who will still be living & working aboard the station; ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg; before closing the hatches between the Soyuz and the space station at 9:19 p.m.
With hatches closed, Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin donned their Sokol launch and entry suits they would wear for landing.
Undocking occurred at 12:38 a.m. as the Soyuz slowly moved away from the International Space Station, marking the official beginning of Expedition 37.
A series of deorbit burns were performed at 3:05 a.m. to take the Soyuz out of Earth orbit and back into the atmosphere. The spacecraft's parachutes then opened, before a "Soft landing" of the Soyuz occurred at 3:58 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
|The Soyuz landing|
Vinogradov, Misurkin and Cassidy return to Earth having spent 166 days in space.
Shortly after landing, search and rescue teams surrounded the charred Soyuz, before Vinogradov, Cassidy and Misurkin were extracted one by one from the spacecraft, and were then put into their own reclining chairs, while being attended to by medical staff. After a few phone calls to loved ones and celebratory photographs were taken, the three newly-returned space farers were lifted to a nearby medical tent for some tests.
Expedition 37 will comprise of a three person crew until the end of the month. Waiting back on Earth is the Soyuz TMA-10M crew, made up of cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins. All three will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25.