Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan landed their Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft in Kazakhstan a few seconds before midnight EDT Friday, with an official landing time of 11:59:39 p.m. Thursday. Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after 164 days in space.
The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in April and spent 162 days living and working aboard the International Space Station.
Samokutyaev was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 8:38 p.m. Thursday from the Poisk docking port on the station's Zvezda service module.
The undocking marked the end of Expedition 28 and the start of Expedition 29 under the command of NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, who is scheduled to remain on the station with Flight Engineers Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa until November. Borisenko ceremonially handed command of the station over to Fossum on Wednesday. Fossum, Volkov and Furukawa arrived at the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft in June.
NASA and its international partners have agreed to a tentative launch schedule with crew flights to the International Space Station resuming on Nov. 14. The Space Station Control Board, with representation from all partner agencies, set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s findings on the Aug. 24 loss of the Progress 44 cargo craft. The dates may be adjusted to reflect minor changes in vehicle processing timelines.
According to the current plan, the Soyuz 28 spacecraft, carrying NASA's Dan Burbank and Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov, will launch Nov. 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and arrive at the station on Nov. 16.
For more information visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition28/exp28_lands.html