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MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. The crew of the Soyuz TMA-14M piloted spaceship returns from the International Space Station /ISS/ to the Earth on Thursday.
Russian cosmonauts Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova (Russia’s first female cosmonaut in the past twenty years) and their American crew mate, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, are returning after a six-month mission onboard the ISS. Their space mission started in late September 2014.
"The Soyuz TMA-14M reentry module is to land at 05:08 Moscow time some 146 kilometres southeast of Kazakhstan’s city of Dzhezkazgan," a spokesman for the Mission Control Centre told TASS.
The Soyuz will undock from the International Space Station at 01:44 Moscow time.
About 200 servicemen, 14 Mi-8 helicopters, three An-12 and An-26 planes and six amphibious transport vehicles of the rescue team of the Central military district will backup safe landing of the space vehicle and evacuation of the crew, the press service of the military district told TASS earlier.
On the following day after the landing, after a medical examination the crew will receive presents from the company Kentavr-Nauka, the key supplier of space garments. "We have prepared souvenir polo shirts with embroidered emblem of the expedition for Samokrutyayev and Serova to remind them of their space flight," Alexander Yarov, the company’s director, told TASS.
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, US astronaut Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will stay at ISS. Virts has taken over as the ISS commander from Wilmore.
The Soyuz TMA-14M crew fulfilled a number of works with Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft, the European cargo spaceship ATV-5, which after undocking from the ISS was drowned in the Pacific in February. Also, they carried out a wide scientific programme.
Samokutyayev and Maksim Surayev, a member of the previous ISS expedition, made a spacewalk under the programme of the station’s Russian segment.
Four spacewalks were performed under the American programme. Wilmore took part in all of them.
The next expedition — Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly — will take off onboard a Soyuz TMA-16M spaceship from the Baikonur space center on March 27.