April 8, 2009. S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, Korolev, Moscow region -
Mission Control Center, Korolev
At 11:16:00, Moscow Time, Soyuz TMA-13 descent
vehicle returned to Earth. All the operations associated
with the descent, landing, search and rescue of the descent
vehicle and the crew went normally.
Russian cosmonaut Yu. Lonchakov
(flight engineer of ISS-18, commander of Soyuz TMA-13) and
NASA astronaut M. Fincke
(commander of ISS-18, flight engineer of Soyuz TMA-13) have
completed their flight under the program of Expedition 18
to the International Space Station (ISS-18), and a spaceflight
participant, US citizen C. Simonyi
has completed his flight under the program of the visiting
Russian cosmonaut G. Padalka
(commander of ISS-19/20, commander of Soyuz TMA-14), NASA
astronaut M. Barratt
(flight engineer 1 of ISS-19/20, flight engineer of
Soyuz TMA-14) and Japanese astronaut K. Wakata
(flight engineer of ISS-18/19) continue their work on-board ISS under the program of expedition ISS-19.
At the Mission Control Center near Moscow (MCC-M), the work in support of the Soyuz TMA-13 de-orbiting maneuvers and re-entry, 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 of the Commission is the Head of the Federal Space Agency A.N. Perminov) and the Technical Management for the flight tests of manned space systems (headed by the President of the S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, General Designer V.A. Lopota).
During re-entry the Soyuz TMA-13 flight was controlled by the Lead Operations Control Team working at MCC-M in cooperation with the specialists of the Federal Air-navigation Service, other Russian organizations and services, as well as the US Mission Control Center in Houston.
The final descent and landing operations were witnessed by the representatives of FSA, NASA, ESA, Russian companies and organizations involved in the ISS program that were present at MCC-M.
After crew evacuation from the descent vehicle, a press conference was held at MCC-M for Russian and foreign journalists. Its participants included managers and representatives of Roscosmos, RSC Energia, NASA, ESA, prime companies in the Russian space industry.
- RSC Energia is the prime organization for developing and operating the ISS Russian segment, its modules (Zvezda, Pirs, etc.), as well as Soyuz TMA and Progress spacecraft. Mission control for the ISS Russian Segment and the spacecraft is provided by the Lead Operations Control Team of MCC-M. The Flight Director is the RSC Energia first deputy general designer, pilot-cosmonaut V.A. Soloviev.
- The descent vehicle made a soft landing on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan near the town of Dzhezkazgan. The search and rescue facilities and specialists accomplished a prompt and immediate retrieval of the crew and the descent vehicle from the landing site.
- The duration of Expedition 18 to the ISS was 178 days, the duration of the 16th visiting mission was about 13 days.