April 27, 2012.
Soyuz TMA-22 mission accomplished, the crew is back on Earth!
At 03:45 PM, Moscow Time, the descent vehicle of Soyuz TMA-22 manned transportation spacecraft made a soft landing in the designated landing area to the North-East of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan. All the operations associated with the descent, search and landing of the descent vehicle went normally.
Russian cosmonauts A. Shkaplerov and A. Ivanishin, NASA astronaut D. Burbank have completed their mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under the program of Expedition ISS-29/30.
Currently continuing their work onboard ISS is the ISS-30/31 crew consisting of: Roskosmos cosmonaut O. Kononenko, NASA astronaut D. Pettit and ESA astronaut A. Kuipers.
At the Mission Control Center near Moscow (MCC-M), the work in support of the spacecraft de-orbiting maneuvers and return of its descent vehicle to Earth, the search for the landed descent vehicle and evacuation of the crew from it was performed under the supervision of the State Commission (The Chairman is the Head of Roskosmos V.A. Popovkin) and the Technical Management for flight tests of manned space systems (headed by President and General Designer of RSC Energia V.A. Lopota).
Mission control for the spacecraft during its return to Earth was provided by the Lead Operations Control Team (LOCT) working at MCC-M. The Flight Director is the RSC Energia First Deputy General Designer V.A. Soloviev. LOCT was working in cooperation with specialists from airborne space search and rescue team and other Russian organizations and services, as well as US Mission Control Center in Houston.
The final descent and landing operations were witnessed by the representatives of Roskosmos, NASA, European and Japanese space agencies, Russian companies and organizations involved in the ISS program who were present at MCC-M.
After the crew evacuation from the descent vehicle, a press conference was held at MCC-M for Russian and foreign mass media.
- RSC Energia is the prime manned space flight organization in the Russian rocket and space industry, responsible for the development of the ISS Russian Segment, its integration into the Space Station and its operation, including development and operation of its principal modules (Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, etc.), integration of the European logistics spacecraft into the Russian Segment, manufacturing, launch and operation of Soyuz TMA and Progress M spacecraft.
- Soyuz TMA-22 mission brought to a close the missions of the old series Soyuz-TMA spacecraft. Currently working onboard ISS is Soyuz TMA-03 spacecraft belonging to the new series, and Soyuz TMA-04M is being readied for launch (the launch is scheduled for May 15, 2012).
- The duration of the mission of Soyuz TMA-22 and its crew was about 165 days 7 hours.