MOSCOW, September 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The International Space Station (ISS) crew is having a farewell dinner. Three of the six crewmembers are about to return to the Earth, the Russian mission control center told Itar-Tass.
When the dinner is over, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin of Russia and Joseph Acaba of the United States will stay goodbye to their colleagues and take their seats in the Soyuz TMA-04 spaceship. The spaceship systems have been checked up and containers with results of biological experiments have been packed.
The hatch will close at about midnight, but Soyuz TMA-04 will depart only at 3:09 a.m. Moscow time, the center said. The astronauts will spend the three hours checking the air-tightness of the hatch, putting on spacesuits and finalizing preparations for the decent.
The landing capsule of the Soyuz TMA-04M manned spaceship carrying Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joseph Acaba is due to land in the Kazakh steppe at 6:53 a.m. Moscow time on September 17. Operative groups of the Federal Air Transport Agency led by Agency deputy head Alexander Vedernikov will welcome the astronauts back to the Earth. They will be accompanied by representatives of the Cosmonaut Training Center, the Energia Corporation, the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, NASA, the European Space Agency and some other organizations.