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KOROLYOV /Moscow Region/, September 12. /TASS/. The manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-16M with a crew of three on board has left the docking port of the International Space Station, Mission Control near Moscow has told TASS.
The re-entry capsule is to bring back to earth Russia’s Gennady Padalka, who has set a world record as to the number of days spent in space by a single person on the aggregate, the first cosmonaut in the history of independent Kazakhstan Aidyn Aimbetov, and Denmark’s first astronaut Andreas Mogensen.
Russia’s Mikhail Korniyenko, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Volkov, the United States’ Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren and Japan’s Kimiya Yui will go ahead with the space mission.
The spacecraft will perform a maneuver taking it away from the ISS and then spend some time in autonomous flight. At 02:59 the engine will be switched on for five minutes to slow down the spacecraft’s speed. Descent from orbit begin. At 03:26 the utility module and equipment bay will separate and three minutes later the capsule with the crew will enter into the atmosphere. At that moment communication with the crew will be lost for short while.
At 03:37 the parachutes will open. The landing is scheduled to take place at 03:51 Moscow time 146 kilometers southeast of Dzhezkazgan, in Kazakhstan. After the landing the cosmonauts will be taken to Astana for a meeting with the leadership of Kazakhstan, and not to the post-flight rehabilitation facilities, as usual.
Padalka will return home as the holder of a world record for the overall time spent in space - his five space missions have lasted a total of 878 days. The holder of the previous record of 803 days in space on the aggregate is Russia’s Sergey Krikalyov.
The Soyuz TMA-16M space vehicle was launched on March 27. It brought to the ISS Padalka, Korniyenko and Kelly. The latter two will remain on the ISS till the spring of 2016. Their seats inside the Soyuz have been taken by Aimbetov and Mogensen.