Moderator: Good evening from Mission Control Houston. Welcome back to tonight’s continuing coverage of the landing of the Soyuz TMA 07M spacecraft and its crew of three expedition 35 astronauts. As of right now the crew has moved into their Soyuz craft having shut the hatches between the craft and the International Space Station successfully back about 2:50 p.m. Central time.
The three are suited up in their Sokol launch and entry suits and inside of the descent module. As of right now they are moving towards the next major milestone for tonight’s activities, the scheduled undocking from the International Space Station. They accomplished a series of leak checks on either side before entering the craft. They were able to say a final farewell to the three astronauts and cosmonauts that will remain on board the International Space Station.
Here you can see them beginning to egress into their docked Soyuz vehicle, all the crew currently inside of the module. Right here you can see NASA astronaut Dr. Tom Marshburn now moving in. The man he’s moving past in the striped shirt there is Pavel Vinogradov, a Russian cosmonaut who is remaining on board and will continue his stint as commander of expedition 36 having taken over command of the International Space Station yesterday from departing commander Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Now giving a final goodbye there and climbing in. You can see Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko (ph). He will be in the centre seat of the descent module throughout the flight this evening in charge of all the Soyuz systems throughout the flight. He is the TMA 07M commander. You can see the hatch being closed between the two, the hatch on the Soyuz craft.
The crew arriving in that craft after launching from the Baikonor Cosmodrome back in December. Separation confirmed at 6:08 p.m. Central time while the station and Soyuz craft fly at about 257 statute miles over eastern Mongolia, backing their way at a rate of just a little of over 1/10th of a meter per second. We are getting live news now from the search and recovery forces of that Soyuz craft as it makes its final descent.
We see it there under the main parachute, heading down towards its touchdown just about ten minutes from now. While we’re getting communications from the crew you also hear the intermittent beeping sound. That’s a beacon that is emanating from the Soyuz craft that search and recovery forces can use to pinpoint the exact touchdown location of the Soyuz vehicle.
These helicopters carried many of the essential personnel to the landing zone including flight surgeons as well as landing site personnel in charge of safing the vehicle and extracting the crew and also erecting the medical tent. At this point the Soyuz spacecraft was descending at a rate of just about 7.2 metres per second. Once there you can see the soft landing rockets fire just about 2 seconds before the landing, slowing into a final descent rate of just 0.8 metres while right above the ground.
Now we’re standing by as the Russian recovery forces in concert with personnel from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency move in to begin extracting the crew from the Soyuz craft. The landing was on the dot there just to the southeast of Dzhezkazgan (ph).
Unidentified: Let’s get ready for the hatch opening. Okay, I’m standing ready. Attention. Careful. Hello. Welcome back.
Moderator: Our first look at the returned crew, Roman Romanenko there in the centre seat, Chris Hadfield to his left and Tom Marshburn to the right. The astronauts are to be carried over to these seats where they can relax for a moment as they’re all extracted before eventually being moved over to the medical tent erected about 100 metres away from the landing zone.
Once inside that medical tent the crew will get their initial medical exam. Meanwhile Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield being lowered into his seat now after being extracted from the Soyuz craft, all three crew members now safely out.
Unidentified: Oxygen 90.
Moderator: Thumbs up from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, returning from his command of the International Space Station. Chris was the first Canadian commander of a spacecraft, wrapping up a historic 144 days on board the station. Roman Romanenko heading to Star City Russia, Hadfield and Marshburn heading back to Houston but for now the crew members out of the Soyuz craft which landed successfully at 9:31 p.m. Central time.