The reentry vehicle of Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide has made a successful landing.
"Landing made" sign appeared on a big screen in the hall of mission control near Moscow, an Interfax-AVN correspondent reports.
This prompted applause from mission control personnel, the leadership of the aerospace industry as well as Russian and foreign guests who observed the landing.
Soyuz TMA-05M docked off from the International Space Station (ISS) at 2:23 a.m. Moscow time on Monday. For several hours it flew independently. Its engine fired between 4:59 and 5:03 a.m. to bring the spacecraft down from the orbit. At 5:26 a.m. it divided up into sections: the living and instrument quarters separated from the reentry vehicle which entered the atmosphere at 5:29 a.m. When it passed the plasma first the initial and then the main parachutes unfolded between 5:31 and 5:38 a.m. slowing down the fall.
After the separation of Soyuz from the Russian segment of ISS and until the arrival of the next expedition which is scheduled to take off on Dec. 19 the station will be operated by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.
Soyuz TMA-05M took off on July 15, 2012 and two days later docked with ISS. Its crew spent 127 days in orbit. During that time they received three Russian Progress resupply ships and the Dragon commercial vehicle, undocked the European ATV-3 space truck, made four space walks (one under the Russian program and three under the U.S.) and also dodged space debris threatening the security of ISS.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.