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Forum:Soviet - Russian Space
Topic:Soyuz TMA-19 mission to the space station
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Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-19 undocks, heads home

Expedition 25 has ended aboard the International Space Station.

The departing trio -- Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin -- undocked Soyuz TMA-19 at 8:23 p.m. EST.

They are headed for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 11:46 p.m. (10:46 a.m. on Friday Kazakhstan time).

Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-19 touches down on Earth

Soyuz TMA-19 landed safely in Kazakhstan at 10:46 p.m. CST on Thursday (10:46 a.m. Friday Kazakhstan time), returning Expedition 25 crew members Douglas Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin to Earth after 163 days in space.

Following its undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) at 7:23 p.m. and a four minute, 21 second deorbit burn at 9:55, Soyuz TMA-19 reentered Earth's atmosphere at 10:23. Recovery parachutes began opening nine minutes later, lowering the spacecraft to a touch down northeast of the Kazakh town of Arkalyk.

Working in frigid temperatures, recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and re-adjust to gravity.

Yurchikhin will return to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow. Wheelock and Walker will fly directly home to Houston, Texas.

The trio launched on Soyuz TMA-19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 15. As members of the Expedition 24 and 25 crews, they spent 163 days in space, 161 of them aboard the station, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of continuous human life, work and research by international crews aboard the station on Nov. 2.

During their mission, the crew members worked on more than 120 experiments in human research; biology and biotechnology; physical and materials sciences; technology development; and Earth and space sciences.

The astronauts also responded to an emergency shutdown of half of the station's external cooling system and supported three unplanned spacewalks by Wheelock and Expedition 24 flight engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson to replace the faulty pump module that caused the shutdown. Their efforts restored the station's critical cooling system to full function.

The landing brings to a close Yurchikhin's third space flight and his second stay on the ISS. He was also an Expedition 15 flight engineer and STS-112 mission specialist. The Roscosmos cosmonaut has now logged more than a year in space with a total of 371 days.

Expedition 25 commander Doug Wheelock.

NASA astronaut Wheelock, who served as Expedition 25 commander, completed his second space flight with a career total of 178 days in space. In 2007, he was a mission specialist for the 15-day STS-120 flight of space shuttle Discovery.

This was the first mission for Walker, who is the first NASA astronaut native to Houston, Texas, home to the Johnson Space Center.

Still on the station are Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly and flight engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka. ISS Expedition 26 began with the departure of Soyuz TMA-19.

NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, and Paolo Nespoli with the European Space Agency are scheduled to launch on Soyuz TMA-20 to the ISS on Dec. 15. They will dock and join its crew on Dec. 17.

Robert PearlmanPhoto credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Robert PearlmanNASA On-Orbit Status, Nov. 30
Soyuz 23S Reentry Anomaly

During landing on 11/26 (GMT), the Soyuz 23S Descent Module (SA) with the Exp-25 crew experienced an internal pressure anomaly which is currently under investigation.

After sealing of the internal hatch between the SA and the Orbital/Habitation Module (BO) by the Soyuz crew before undocking, the standard hatch leak check failed. After reopening and resealing the hatch, the leak rate stayed within allowable parameters, and 23S undocked.

Upon subsequent further depressurization of the BO (by opening valve KSD-BO) prior to BO-SA separation, the crew observed the same leak signature on the hatch as before, still within limits and without violating flight rules. The crew introduced oxygen into the cabin atmosphere (by opening valve ZPK-RD).

After module separation, air pressure in the Descent Module was maintained at the appropriate level with additional oxygen.

Because the BO-SA hatch did not pass the initial pre-undocking leak check and the SA module pressure decreased when the BO module was evacuated during descent, the hatch remains suspect.

TsUP-Moscow specialists are analyzing the anomaly and NASA engineers are awaiting further data.

music_spaceI was very busy on the day of the landing, and I only read about it the day after, in Montreal's tabloid-format paper, which relies heavily on press agencies such as AP. The article mentioned a pressurization anomaly. So once at home, I check cS... and found no mention of an anomaly. I then searched the Web: nothing but a normal landing. I was beginning to think I had dreamt it all.

I recall that the article I read mentionned suit pressurization. Anyone else read that?

PhilipLots of photos, but could someone point out a weblink for a high resolution version crewphoto of TMA-19?

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