KOROLYOV, March 11, /ITAR-TASS/. A trio of cosmonauts who have completed a long-term mission at the International Space Station are heading for the Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-10M spaceship, which undocked from the ISS at 03:45 Moscow Standard Time (GMT + 4 hrs) and is due to land in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 07:24.
“The flight of the Soyuz TMA-10M, which undocked from the ISS at 03:45 is proceeding in a scheduled mode,” a spokesman for the Central Ground Control Mission told Itar-Tass.
“Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky and U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins feel well,” the spokesman said.
“The Russian Mikhail Tyurin, the American Richard Mastracchio and the Japanese Koichi Wakata, who are now manning the ISS will be awaiting the moment when the Soyuz lands in Kazakhstan,” he said. “This is the first time that a Japanese astronaut gets the position of a crew commander at the ISS.”
The ship is now en route to the designated site of landing, which is located some 147 kilometers to the southeast of the city of Dzhezkazgan. At 06:30, when the ship is at the altitude of 360 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, its engine is due to begin the braking, as a result of which it will de-orbit and will begin a controllable descent.
The parachute of the descent capsule will be ejected at the altitude of 11 kilometers. The ship is due to land at 07:24 Moscow Standard Time.