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Station's crew rate for landing overnight in Kazakhstan – Spaceflight Now

STORY WRITTEN TO CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION NASA Astronaut Serena Auñón Chancellor, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst and Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev are being landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday. Credit: Roscosmos Eight days after a dramatic spacecraft to inspect leakage in the hull of his Soyuz ferry ship, Russian commander Sergey Prokopyev, German air engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón chased themselves to resign International Space Station Wednesday for a fiery dunking back to earth. The aircraft required the crew to embark on the Soyuz MS-09 / 55S spacecraft and close the gap around 5:20 EST, undocking from the Earth-facing Rassvet module space station at 8:40 After moving a safe distance Prokopyev and Gerst plan to monitor a planned four-minute 37-second rocket launch at 11:10 am, slowing the ship at about 286 km / h to lower the crossbar in the atmosphere for a descent to Kazakstan's stepp. If all goes well, the spacecraft's central descent module, the part of the spacecraft carrying the crew, will do a parachute and rocket-assisted touchdown near the city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, around 12:03 PM Thursday (11:03 local time ). With up to four inches of snow in the area, Russian recovery crews and medical personnel together with the US and European Space Agency support team will be stationed nearby to help the returning crew members out of the crowded crew as they begin their transition to gravity six months after the launch of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in June 6.…

STORY WRITTEN TO CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION

NASA Astronaut Serena Auñón Chancellor, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst and Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev are being landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday. Credit: Roscosmos

Eight days after a dramatic spacecraft to inspect leakage in the hull of his Soyuz ferry ship, Russian commander Sergey Prokopyev, German air engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón chased themselves to resign International Space Station Wednesday for a fiery dunking back to earth.

The aircraft required the crew to embark on the Soyuz MS-09 / 55S spacecraft and close the gap around 5:20 EST, undocking from the Earth-facing Rassvet module space station at 8:40

After moving a safe distance Prokopyev and Gerst plan to monitor a planned four-minute 37-second rocket launch at 11:10 am, slowing the ship at about 286 km / h to lower the crossbar in the atmosphere for a descent to Kazakstan’s stepp.

If all goes well, the spacecraft’s central descent module, the part of the spacecraft carrying the crew, will do a parachute and rocket-assisted touchdown near the city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, around 12:03 PM Thursday (11:03 local time ).

With up to four inches of snow in the area, Russian recovery crews and medical personnel together with the US and European Space Agency support team will be stationed nearby to help the returning crew members out of the crowded crew as they begin their transition to gravity six months after the launch of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in June 6. [19659004] With touchdown, Prokopyev and Auñón-Chancellor will have logged 196 days 17 hours and 51 minutes from the planet during their first space mission, while Gerst, veteran of a 165-day stay aboard station 2014, will have almost an entire year of cumulative time up.

Asked what she looked forward to, said Auñón Chancellor, “It’s easy. Family. That’s what you miss the most.”

“I do not think you’ll ever get used to it,” she told CBS News in an interview last month. “You have reminders, we have pictures, we get special video conferencing conversations, but it’s not like being in your beloved arms.”

Secondly, on her list behind the family, “it would only be the feelings of the earth,” she said. “For example, the wind, the rain. We watched a video the other day and I remember being very jealous of seeing someone standing by the sea because I knew they could feel the wind and smell the ocean. And we can not do this up. “

After short medical checks and satellite phone calls home to friends and family, Prokopyev, Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor will fly by helicopter to Dzhezkazgan for an official welcome home ceremony. Prokopyev then returns to Star City near Moscow while Gerst leads to Cologne, Germany. Auñón Chancellor returns to his home near the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Asked what she will miss most about life aboard the station, said Auñón-Chancellor “It sounds a little simple but floating everywhere is pretty cool.”

“Only when you get up here are you this rude ballerina who can not handle anything … but this is my favorite part, “she said angryly a slow aboard station. “It allows you to work in three dimensions, and you only realize what your body can achieve here, as you just do not do on earth.”

“This is what I will miss the most. Of course you look and see the earth is beautiful. But looking at how the human body adjusts to be staying here is amazing.”

Left in circulation with departure to The Soyuz MS-09 crew will be Expedition 58 commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain. They were originally expected last week and joined the cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Haag aboard the station.

But Ovchinin and The Hague were the victims of a launch canceled on October 11, the first for a Soyuz spacecraft since 1983. Instead of reaching the station and connection to Gerst, Prokopyev and Auñón Chancellors, Ovchinin and The Hague had to make a emergency landing near Dzhezkazgan and threw a wrench in the carefully planned crew.

Russian engineers quickly tracked the problem of the system used to control the separation of the four fluid-based brake-on boosters, making up the first stage of Soyuz FG Booster. One solution was relatively straight ahead.

After assessing several options, Russian executives chose to move the launch of Kononenko’s crew from December 20 to December 3 and delay the departure from Gerst and his crew members from December 13 to December. 20.

Roscosmos, the Russian space organization, also moved the next flight into the sequence. The mission originally planned at the beginning of April was to bring Russian commander Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronaut Christina Koch and a United Arab Emirates guest astronaut to the station.

Instead, Ovchinin and The Hague will be in Koch on board Soyuz MS-12 / 58S spacecraft, launched to the station at the end of February.

In an interview with CBS News in Houston, he said he had full confidence in Soyuz’s security system and was looking forward to fulfilling his mission.

“What we do up there at the space station every day is important,” he said. “We try to open the eyes of humanity, discover new things, make life better on the ground and drive further into the universe. It’s a very important thing to do and it benefits so many people. So you accept the risk that you believe in what you do. “

His wife Catie agreed, but said she was still nervous for the idea that the man drove a rocket in space.

“I was very nervous (during the launch in October), and I’m still nervous,” she said. “There is a risk, there is a lot of risk with what they do, and being on the outside of what looks in, you definitely have no control, is scary. It’s scary.”

“But I trust him” she said, “I trust his training, I trust implicit implications of his Commissioner Alexey, and I know everyone is really investing in their safety.”

Soyuz MS-09 was not just spacecraft that gave the Russians a problem. ferry ships like Prokopyev, Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor are addicted to their journey home had problems with their own in August in August when sensors aboard the station discovered a small drop in the laboratory air pressure.

Leak was not considered serious enough to wake up crew, but the next morning the four astronauts and two cosmonauts who formed the Expedition 56 crew leaked to the upper “orbital” module in the spacecraft Soyuz MS-09.

Photographs of the hole that was downlinked by the station’s crew Ttning showed what proved to be a bored penetration in a interior panel with several adjacent gills like those that would be caused by a drill jumping over a surface before they dig.

Dmitry Rogozin, director of Roscosmos, raised eyebrows when he did not immediately exclude the station’s crew members among potential suspects. He said, “It is an honor of Energy Rocket and Space Corporation (Soyuz Builder RSC Energia) to find the person responsible for it to find out if there was an accidental or deliberate destruction, and where it was done – either on earth or in space. “

As expected, Drew Feustel, the station’s commander, told at the time that the interviewers had nothing to do with the leak than to plug it and no one has since suggested the possibility of such engagement .

Prokopyev and Comrade Consul Oleg Artemyev, who, in accordance with instructions from the Russian Mission Control Center, linked the hole with epoxy gas plants. The plug was held and the air traffic controllers later increased the flight pressure to normal levels.

The crew was never in danger, officials said and a safe return from Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft has never been questioned because of the leak.

In a normal entry, the three modules that form a Soyuz spacecraft – the upper orbital crew chamber and the lower propulsion module – are separated from each other just before they fall back into the distinguished atmosphere.

The upper and lower modules burn up while the descent module, the only one protected by a heat shield, continues on touchdown. For the post Soyuz MS-09, the crew planned to follow normal exercise and closed the cover to the upper module before leaving the space station. Even if a leak opens again, it would have no effect on the suspended descent module.

But Russian engineers would still inspect the outside of Soyuz’s orbital module to find out if any of the epoxies had made all the way through the hole and gather some clues that may be available on the outside.

By moving the launch of Kononenko and his crew members until December 3 and delaying the retirement of Gerst Crew, the Russians guaranteed enough time with a complement of crew members for a space walk by Prokopyev and Kononenko to do that.

The cosmonauts dared outside the station on December 11 and cut through isolation and micrometeoroid shielding on the orbit that reveals the leakage site. The combined samples of extruded epoxy and any chemical traces on the hull near the hole will be returned to the ground for laboratory analysis.

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