MOSCOW, May 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who have worked on the orbiting outpost for more than 144 days, have moved to the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft that is docked to the International Space Station (ISS) and closed the hatches, the Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside Moscow told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
Before leaving the station, the “departing” crewmembers warmly said goodbye to the colleagues - Russians Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy, who will continue to work on the station until September 11.
“In the time remaining before the undocking Romanenko, Marshburn and Hadfield will check the operation of the onboard systems and documentation, put on spacesuits in the descent module of the Soyuz ship, take their seats and wait for the decisive moment when the command to undock from the station is given,” the MCC said.
According to the schedule, the spacecraft is to undock from the ISS at 03:08 MSK in an automated mode. After separation from the Russian module Rassvet the crew commander Romanenko will move the Soyuz ship at a distance of 180-200 metres from the station, and then steer it down to Earth.
The automatic equipment for more than three hours will be seeing the ship to the planned landing site located some 146 kilometres southeast of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan. Approximately 50 minutes before landing, at 05:37 MSK at an altitude of about 350 kilometres the Soyuz engine will begin braking. As a result, the spacecraft will leave the orbit and begin a guided descent to Earth. The parachute of the descent capsule will be deployed at an altitude of about 11 kilometres. The landing is scheduled for 06:30 MSK.