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Soyuz MS-19 to bring back to Earth two Russian cosmonauts, US astronaut

The landing is expected to take place 147 km southeast of Kazakhstan’s city of Zhezqazghan, at around 14:28 Moscow time

MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. The reentry capsule of Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft with three crew members on board will land in the steppes of Kazakhstan on Wednesday afternoon, the press service of Russia’s state-run space corporation Roscosmos has told TASS.

"In accordance with the International Space Station’s flight program, the landing of the Soyuz MS-19 reentry capsule is scheduled for March 30, 2022. The crew comprising Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei will return to the Earth," the press service said.

The command to undock from the Rassvet module of the Russian ISS segment is expected to be made at 10:19 Moscow time, with the undocking itself expected at 10:21 Moscow time. The deorbit burn will begin after nearly three hours of autonomous flight, at approximately 13:34 Moscow time.

Shortly after, unoccupied modules will separate from the spacecraft and burn in dense layers of the atmosphere.

When the landing capsule enters the atmosphere, aeroballistic deceleration will begin. As a result, a cloud of plasma with the temperature of about 2,000 degrees Centigrade will be formed around the vehicle, making any contact with the crew impossible for several minutes.

Further deceleration will occur with the help of parachutes. Soft landing engines will turn on at the altitude of less than one meter. The landing is expected to take place 147 km southeast of Kazakhstan’s city of Zhezqazghan, at around 14:28 Moscow time.

The press service of Russia’s Central Military district said the weather at the landing site is expected to be fair with some clouds, with air temperature hovering around +6 degrees Centigrade and visibility of around 8 kilometers.

Earlier, some US media expressed doubts if Russia would agree to take US astronaut Mark Vande Hei back to Earth amid the sanctions imposed on Russia over the situation in Ukraine. Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos responded by saying that it has never given its partners the slightest chance to doubt its reliability, reaffirming that the US astronaut will return back to the Earth on March 30, as scheduled.

The corporation stressed that the ISS crew’s safety has always been its top priority.

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn assumed command of the ISS on Tuesday. In April, he will hand it over to a Russian cosmonaut.