ISS Expedition 10 returns to Earth

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao is all smiles after the successful landing of the Soyuz spacecraft. Credit: NASA
Expedition 10 Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov exits the helicopter that carried the crew to Arkalyk. Credit: NASA
Soyuz re-entry as seen from the Station. Credit: NASA

With two space walks, 78 million miles and six months on board the International Space Station under their belts, Commander-Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, the station's 10th crew, landed in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz spacecraft at 6:08 p.m. EDT Sunday.

Also returning was European Space Agency Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy, who launched to the Station with the Expedition 11 crew and spent eight days doing experiments. He was aboard under a contract between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The re-entry of the ISS Soyuz 9 spacecraft was perfect, returning the astronauts to Earth 53 miles northeast of the town of Arkalyk after 192 days, 19 hours and 2 minutes in space for the Expedition 10 crew. The recovery team reached the capsule in minutes.

They launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last Oct. 13 at 11:06 p.m. EDT. During their increment they performed two spacewalks, continued station maintenance and did scientific experiments.

Notable accomplishments included replacing critical hardware in the Joint Quest Airlock; repairing U.S. spacesuits; and submitting a scientific research paper on ultrasound use in space. Chiao was also the first astronaut to vote in the U.S. Presidential election from space. The crew completed two spacewalks, including experiment installation and tasks to prepare the Station for the arrival of the new European Automated Transfer Vehicle next year.

Aboard the Station, Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer and NASA Station Science Officer John Phillips, the Expedition 11 crew, are beginning a six-month mission. It will include the resumption of Space Shuttle flights and two spacewalks from the Station. Expedition 11 is scheduled to return to Earth on October 7, 2005. The two latest occupants of the station launched with Vittori from Baikonur April 14.

Krikalev and Phillips will have light duty for the next two days, as they rest after completing a busy handover period. For the past week, they have been learning about Station operations from the two men who called the ship home since October. Chiao and Sharipov briefed Krikalev and Phillips on day-to-day operations and gave them hands-on opportunities at Station maintenance. Chiao and Phillips restored the Quest airlock to working order for future spacewalks and practiced operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

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