MOSCOW, May 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio, and Koichi Wakata, astronaut of Japan's space agency JAXA, who have worked in orbit for more than 187 days, have transferred to the Soyuz TMA-11M spaceship docked with the International Space Station (ISS) and closed the hatches.
Before leaving the ISS, the departing crewmembers said warm goodbyes to Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, and American astronaut Steve Swanson, who will go on working aboard the ISS until September this year.
Within the space of time remaining before undocking, Tyurin, Mastracchio, and Wakata are to check the operation of onboard systems, examine documentation, don spacesuits 'Sokol' (falcon) in the poky descent module of the Soyuz, take up their seats and wait for a command about undocking."
According to plan, the spaceship is to undock from the ISS at 02:36, Moscow time, in an automatic mode. Following separation from the Russian module Zvezda (star), Soyuz crew commander Tyurin will bring the spaceship to a distance of 180-200 m from the station and then steer it towards the Earth.
For more than three hours, automatic equipment will be navigating the spaceship towards a planned landing site located approximately 148 km south east of the Kazakhstani city of Dzhezkazgan.
About 50 minutes prior to landing, at 05:04, at an altitude of about 350 km the Soyuz engine will begin to operate for deceleration. As a result, the spaceship will depart from orbit and start a controlled descent onto the Earth. The parachute of the descent capsule is to open up at an altitude of about 11 km, at 05:44.
Landing is scheduled for 05:58.