MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Engines of Russia’s Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, as well as US astronaut Kathleen Rubins on board, were switched on to perform a deorbit burn, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos said in a Twitter post on Saturday.
"At 07:01:30 Moscow time, an order was given to fire engines for deorbit burn. The burn lasted 4.5 minutes," Roscosmos said.
The spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at approximately 04:34 Moscow time.
Meanwhile, a search and rescue air group of Russia’s Central Military District departed to the presumed landing site of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft in Kazakhstan, the district’s press service said in a statement on Saturday.
The landing is scheduled for 07:56 Moscow time on Saturday. Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, as well as US astronaut Kathleen Rubins are onboard the spacecraft.
"In order to ensure the search and rescue effort during the landing <…> 12 Mi-8MTV5-1 helicopters of the Russian army aviation, two An-12 planes and one An-26 plane of the Central Military District’s transport aviation took off from airfields in Zhezqazghan, Baikonur and Karaganda. The search and rescue zone is centered 147 km southeast of Zhezqazghan," the statement says.
Equipment, rescuers and teams of doctors are on board the aircraft. The exact location of the landing site will be determined by the An-26 crew. Besides, ground-based rescue teams have been deployed in the main and alternative landing areas.