Expedition 35 Astronauts Return To Earth
[ Watch the Video: Expedition 35 Crew Lands Safely in Kazakhstan ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The Expedition 35 crew members landed safely in southern Kazakhstan Monday evening after spending 146 days in space.
Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko safely landed in Russia at 10:31 pm EDT after a job well done aboard the International Space Station (ISS). They undocked from the space station at 7:08 pm from the Rassvet module on Monday for a nearly three-and-a-half hour descent back home.
Hadfield ceremonially handed over command of the orbiting laboratory to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who is now commander of the Expedition 36 team. Vinogradov will remain on the station along with Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin until September. The three remaining members will eventually be joined by Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Luca Parmitano after their launch on May 28.
NASA said Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko spent their final hours aboard the station tying up some final loose ends. The space agency said Marshburn removed a sample canister from a Japanese protein crystal growth experiment and handed it off to his Russian crewmates to stow inside their Soyuz spacecraft.
Hadfield stowed the Binary Colloid Alloy Test-6, or BCAT-6, in the Zarya module before leaving. This test looked at how gases and liquids come together and separate in space. According to NASA, this experiment may lead to improvements in the shelf-life of household products, food and medicine.
The former commander also helped out Cassidy with periodic fitness evaluation to help flight surgeons keep track of the crew’s health during the long-duration missions. He took Cassidy’s blood pressure measurements while Chris used the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization exercise bike.
Cassidy and Marshburn had to conduct a spacewalk together last Saturday to fix an ammonia leak that was found in the external cooling system on the ISS. Expedition 35 crew members discovered the leak on Thursday morning after seeing white flakes floating away from the station’s P6 truss structure.
The spacewalk lasted 5-hours and 30-minutes, and so far NASA has reported it was successful. The space agency said the spare Pump and Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) box installed is showing no signs of ammonia leakage at this point and is functioning normally.