Sunday, October 11, 2009

Soyuz Crew Makes Safe Return To Earth

BLOGGER UPDATE, 12:45 a.m.: The Soyuz spacecraft is back on the ground safely after an 50-minute atmospheric reentry and landing in central Kazakhstan. Russian cosmonaur Gennady Padalka, American astronaut Michael Barratt and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte landed around 12:31 a.m. today and will be heading back to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow later today. The Associated Press photograph at left shows the capsule and parachute drifting toward the ground.

BLOGGER UPDATE: 9:20 p.m.: A crew of three departed the International Space Station about 9:07 p.m. and is preparing to to return to earth late this evening. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, American astronaut Michael Barratt and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte are flying away from the station and aim to do a dive back through Earth's atmosphere at about 11:40 p.m. We'll have live coverage here beginning at 11:15 p.m. Landing is scheduled at 12:31 a.m. Sunday.

BLOGGER NOTE, 6:03 p.m.: A departing crew is in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft at the International Space Station, preparing for an undocking that is scheduled at 9:07 p.m. EDT. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, American astronaut Michael Barratt and spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte are strapping in to the Soyuz. You can follow the action live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page and refresh this page for periodic updates. Live coverage of the undocking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

A Russian cosmonaut, an American astronaut and the world's first space clown will depart the International Space Station and return to Earth today, winding up their expeditions to the orbiting outpost.

Veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, Michael Barratt and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte will bid adieu to crewmates at 6 p.m. and then climb into a Soyuz spacecraft at the outpost.

You can watch the farewell ceremony here in The Flame Trench beginning at 5:30 p.m. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer, and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

Padalka handed over the helm of the station to Frank DeWinne, the first European commander of the outpost, during a brief ceremony on Friday.

"You have been a great example to me," DeWinne told Padalka, who flew up to the station in March. "It was a pleasure to serve under you, and you will always be an example in my life."

Barratt, a first-time flyer who also has been on board since March, received his astronaut wings and a 100-day patch from crewmate Jeff Williams, who arrived at the station earlier this month.

"There's a tradition within NASA that we have for flown astronauts, and typically when we return from our first flight, we get presented to us an astronaut pin that was designed a long time ago by the Apollo astronauts. And of course in space station days, we have a patch that the NASA astronauts wear who go long duration in exploration. It's called the 100-day patch," Williams said.

"And normally we get that presented to us after we land on our first flight. But I would like to take the privilege and honor to present a flown astronaut pin," he added as he fixed the pin on Barratt's shirt.

"I'll try not to shed any blood because the folks are watching. And here's a flown 100-day patch for you as well.".

"Thanks very much. For a first flight I'm probably one of the luckiest astronauts or cosmonauts out there because my first flight was just incredible -- almost seven months," he said. "So this means a great deal to me, and to get it up here is a great honor."

The Russian spacecraft will undock from the station at 9:07 p.m. We'll have live coverage beginning at 8:45 p.m.

Our live coverage of deobit burn and landing will pick up at 11:15 p.m. The burn is slated for 11:40 p.m. and touchdown in central Kazakhstan is slated at 12:31 a.m. Sunday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought the Poetic Social Mission was probably the most high-profile of the 7 space tourist flights to the ISS. Guy Laliberte was under no obligation to do anything except float around and enjoy the view from up there. That he combined his life's dream with the message of water conservation was selfless. I know some have criticised Laliberte for the $35 million price tag, but it's better than buying a work of art that no-one will see. Plus, that money will go toward building future Soyuz craft.