September 11, 2013 - 10:51 AMT
Russia’s Soyuz TMA-08M returns Expedition 36 back to Earth

Russia’s Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft with two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut on board landed safely in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, September 11, according to RIA Novosti.

The undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) took place as scheduled, in an automated regime, a spokesman for Russia’s Mission Control Center said earlier in the day.

The spacecraft carries Roscosmos cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy, who arrived at the ISS in March.

As NASA Spaceflight reveals, in preparation for that safe trip home, the Soyuz TMA-08M crew donned their Sokol launch and entry suits, closed the hatch between the Orbital Module (BO) and Descent Module (SA), and strapped themselves into their Kazbek couches inside the SA.

Following a few hours of free flight, Soyuz TMA-09M conducted its de-orbit burn, followed by a landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan on the Steppe of Kazakhstan.

Once the crew have been extracted and examined by Russian recovery forces, they will be flown by MI-8 helicopters to a nearby airfield, where the crew will part ways, with Cassidy boarding a NASA Gulfstream III aircraft to be flown back to Ellington Field in Houston, Texas – via two refuelling stops in Glasgow, Scotland, and Goose Bay, Canada.

Vinogradov and Misurkin will be flown back to Star City, outside Moscow.

After the departure, the ISS crew comprises Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, and astronauts Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.

They will be joined by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, who will blast off for the station in a Soyuz-TMA10M spacecraft at 00:58 Moscow time on September 26.