March 16, 2011. S.P.Korolev RSC Energia - MCC-M,
Korolev, Moscow region
Descent module (DM) of the Soyuz TMA-M vehicle returned to the ground at 10:54, Moscow time. All operations for de-orbit, search and landing of Descent Module passed normally.
Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kalery (the vehicle commander), Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly completed their flight to the International Space Station (ISS) under the ISS-25/26 program.
Expedition-27 prime crew continues working onboard the Station: Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kodratiev (the crew commander), NASA astronauts Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli.
At the Mission Control Center near Moscow (MCC-M) the following operations were performed: maneuvers for de-orbit and descent of the Soyuz TMA-M vehicle to the ground, search for DM landed and the crew evacuation from it; these operations were performed under the control of the State Committee (Chairman - Head of the Federal Space Agency A.N. Perminov) and Technical Management in charge of flight tests of the manned space complexes (Head - RSC Energia President, General Designer V.A. Lopota).
The Main Operations Control Team (Flight Director - First Deputy General Designer of RSC Energia V.A. Soloviev) controlled the Soyuz TMA-M vehicle flight in the phase of return to the ground . The team worked at MCC-M in co-operation with specialists of the aerospace search and rescue, other Russian organizations and services, as well as the U.S. Mission Control Center in Houston.
Representatives of Roscosmos, NASA, ESA, Russian enterprises and organizations present at MCC-M and participating in the ISS program implementation watched the performance of completing operations for the vehicle de-orbit and its DM landing on the ground.
At MCC-M after the crew evacuation from DM a press conference was held. Managers and representatives of Roscosmos, RSC Energia, NASA, ESA, leading enterprises of the rocket-space industry of Russia took part in it.
- The Soyuz TMA-M vehicle descent module made a soft landing in the design area to the north of Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan.
- For safety assurance during the landing of the manned vehicle descent module the following was used: aircraft AN-12 and AN-24, helicopters Mi-8, the rescue-evacuation vehicles; in this case all design landing points were covered.
- The duration of the space flight with Alexander Kalery, Oleg Skripochka and Scott Kelly was about 159 days.
- The Soyuz TMA-M transport manned vehicle is the first vehicle of a new series of Soyuz TMA manned vehicles the flights of which are performed since October 2002. The modifications of this series made are one of the measures aimed to develop new generation manned transport vehicle (NG MTV). In-flight tests of new devices and equipment installed onboard the Soyuz TMA-M MTV will allow to adopt the corresponding decisions with regard to NG MTV.