Russian manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-01 left today at night docking port of Rassvet module and took course on Earth. Sunday morning Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi were already on Earth !
Finally members of Expedition 49 reached Earth after spending 115 days and 1840 orbits in space. This mission will also remembered as first finished mission of new version of Soyuz spacecraft; for Kate Rubins (NASA) and Takuya Onishi (JAXA) it was first space flight and first EVA (only for Kate Rubins).
Anatoly Ivanishin (Roscosmos, commander) took center place inside Soyuz MS-01 with Takuya Onishi (flight engineer) on his left side and Kate Rubins on his right side. Ivanishin was also commander of Expedition 49 the ISS and handed over command to Shane Kimbrough (NASA), who reached ISS inside Soyuz MS-02 on October 21, 2016. Farewell with Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko (both from Roscosmos) and officially taking command took place yesterday at around 20:00 GMT. Hatch was closed one hour later, at 21:12 GMT, and members of Expedition wearing their Sokol suits performed final leak check and self-tests of Soyuz.
Planned for today undocking and landing of MS-02 was supervised by specialists in NASA Johnson Space Center and Mission Control Center in Korolev. Final separation was preceded by switching on docking port mechanism; next phase was releasing hooks of docking adapter performed at 00:33 GMT. After 100 seconds spring mechanisms on both sides started to push Soyuz MS-02 away from ISS. At 00:35 GMT Soyuz separated from Rassvet during passing over Mongolia on altitude of 402 km. First from two separation burns was started 20 m from ISS at 00:40 GMT and lasted for 10 seconds - 14 pairs of DPO thrusters (part of the KDTU-80 propulsion system) provided 130 N of thrust burning UDMH/N2O4. Deorbit burn, with utilization of main SKD 2.95 kN engine, was planned to last for 4'36" and started at 03:06 GMT. It put Soyuz MS-02 into correct position for successful deorbitation. At 03:33 GMT Soyuz performed internal separation procedure - landing module with crew was jettisoned from service and orbital module. Landing module (capsule) performed maneuver with Hydrogen Peroxide thrusters to position itself with heat shield towards to Earth. Three minutes later Soyuz left space after passing 100 km altitude point. After reaching altitude of 10.8 km and reducing speed from 25 Ma to 0.7 Ma, first drag parachute was deployed using two pilot parachutes. After reducing speed to 80 m/s main parachute was deployed on altitude of 7500 m. Soyuz MS-02 stabilized its flight and started to get close to landing zone placed 148 km south east of Dzhezkazgan city. Soyuz released its heat shield and prepared internal shock absorbing system for touchdown. Shortly before touching ground it pushed seats up and ignited rocket motors to land gently on Earth. Rescue teams reached Soyuz shortly after landing and helped all three crew members to leave capsule.
On picture above: Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi already on Earth.
All three crew members were in good condition and were already transported to Karaganda for traditional welcome ceremony. Next, Anatoly Ivanishin flew to Star City under Moscow, while Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi left Kazakhstan onboard NASA plane from Karaganda to Johnson Space Center in Houston.