April 30, 2004. Korolev, Moscow Region.
The Expedition 8 crew of the International Space Station
(ISS) consisting of Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri (Soyuz
TMA-3 commander, ISS-8 flight engineer, instructor-testing
cosmonaut of RSC Energia), U.S. astronaut Michael Foale
(Soyuz TMA-3 flight engineer, ISS-8 commander, NASA) and
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andre Kuipers, Soyuz
TMA-3 flight engineer, the sixth visiting crew (VC-6) flight
engineer, citizen of the Netherlands returned to Earth in
Soyuz TMA-3 descent vehicle (DV).
The spacecraft undocked from the Pirs module of the Russian
Segment on April 30, 2004 at 0:52 Moscow time on command
from the Mission Control Center in Moscow (MCC-M).
The spacecraft flight in a flyback phase was implemented
in the automatic controllable descent mode. The designed
deorbit burn of the spacecraft propulsion system, that was
activated at 3:20, transferred the spacecraft to a descent
trajectory, in which at 3:45 the spacecraft was nominally
separated into the descent vehicle, habitation and instrumentation
compartments. At 3:48 DV made a reentry and at 4:12 landed
in the prescribed area located at a distance of about 60
km to the north-east of Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan
(coordinates of the specified landing point: 50.38° N and
67.20° E). The DV parachute descent and soft landing were
implemented according to the nominal operation program of
the landing system.
The crew and DV were rapidly evacuated from the landing
site according to the regulations by using the search and
rescue team personnel and means.
During the final flight operations of Soyuz-TMA-3 manned
spacecraft MCC-M was attended from the Russian party by
A.N. Perminov, Director of Federal Space Agency (FSA), N.F.
Moiseev and V.A. Grin, Co-chairmen of the State Board, Yu.
P. Semenov, Technical Director of Russian Manned Space Programs,
General Designer of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, Academician
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, V.V.Tsibliev, Director
of Yu.A. Gagarin CTC RGNII, N.A. Anfimov, General Director
of TsNII of Machine-Building, Academician of RAS, FSA representatives,
leading specialists of RSC Energia, Russian enterprises
and organizations participating in the implementation of
the ISS program; from the US party by Sean O'Keefe, NASA
Administrator; from the Europeans partners involved in the
ISS Project by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General,
and Jorg Feustel-Buechl, Director of Manned Spaceflight
and Microgravity, relatives and friends of Soyuz TMA-3 crewmembers.
The objectives of the ISS-8 expedition and VC-6 flight were
During a nine-day mission onboard the Space Station ESA
astronaut Andre Kuipers performed scientific experiments
and investigations in the frame of the Delta mission.
Before going down to the Earth, Soyuz TMA-3 crew stowed
about 60 kg of cargoes in the descent vehicle with the experiment
results received under the Russian, US, European and commercial
programs, trained emergency escape and descent operations.
The crew also performed all necessary medical investigations
and physical exercises in preparation for the de-orbit.
Soyuz TMA-3 that was in orbit 195 days, of which 193 days
it was used as a crew rescue vehicle as part of the International
Space Station, and was replaced with Souz-TMA-4, that delivered
the ISS 9 Expedition crew to the Station, i.e. Russian cosmonaut
Gennady Padalka (commander) and US astronaut Michael Fincke
Soyuz TMA spacecraft being a modification of Soyuz spacecraft
for operation in the frame of the ISS Project were developed
by S.P. Korolev RSC Energia staff in cooperation with the
subcontractors of the Russian rocket and space industry,
and have been flying since November 2002.
Soyuz TMA-3 reentry flight was commanded by the Lead Operational
Control Team (LOCT) at MCC-M (Flight Director is Pilot-Cosmonaut
V.A. Soloviev), that worked in close cooperation with the
specialists of the U.S. Mission Control Center (Houston).
The ISS Orbital Complex is flying in a near-earth orbit
with the following parameters: maximum and minimum altitudes
of 387.1 and 357.9 km, respectively, period of 91.7 min,
and inclination of 65.64°.
The ISS Orbital Complex of about 181.4 tons is operating
in orbit in the following configuration: Functional Cargo
Block Zarya, Service Module Zvezda, Docking Module/Compartment
Pirs, manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-4, cargo vehicle Progress
M1-11 (Russian Segment), as well as modules Unity, Destiny
and airlock Quest and multi-link truss structure with the
deployed solar arrays (U.S. On-Orbit Segment).
The ISS-9 crew continues the flight program in-orbit activities.
Following the report about Soyuz TMA-3 DV landing and crew
evacuation, a briefing for all present journalists was held
at MCC-M. The briefing was attended by A.N. Perminov, Yu.P.
Semenov, S. O'Keefe, J-J Dordain, J.F.Buechl, V.V. Tsibliev,
who congratulated all people, who were present and participated
in the mission implementation, on successful completion
of the ISS-8 and VC-6 flight programs, reported about the
performed flight activities and further prospects of the
station assembly with regard to the resumption of the Space
Shuttle flights, and answered questions of the journalists.