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OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
about the landing of Soyuz TMA-4 descent vehicle
and the return of the ISS 9 and VC-7 crews
 

October 24, 2004. Korolev, Moscow Region.

Following a 188-day flight program the Expedition 9 crew of the International Space Station (ISS-9) consisting of the Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, commander, and the U.S. astronaut Michael Fincke, flight engineer, returned to Earth in Soyuz TMA-4 descent vehicle. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Shargin, who has been working on the ISS from October 16 through October 24 under the visiting crew (VC-7) program returned to the Earth together with the ISS-9 crew.
The spacecraft undocked from the Zarya module of the Russian Segment of the ISS on October 24, 2004 at 01:08 Moscow summer time on control commands from the Mission Control Center in Moscow (MCC-M). The spacecraft descent was implemented in the nominal automatic mode.
The descent vehicle of the spacecraft landed at 04:36 Moscow time near Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan. Under difficult weather and night conditions an operative search of the descent vehicle was carried out in a timely fashion by the search and rescue teams, which escorted the decent vehicle parachute descent and landing and subsequently evacuated the crew from the landing site.
The coordinates of the landing point are 5059' N and 6718' E. A deviation from the landing site center was about 10 km that is essentially less than the allowable value.
Transport manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-4 was in orbit 188 days, of which 186 days was used as a crew rescue vehicle as part of the ISS Orbital Complex. It was replaced with Souz-TMA-5, that delivered the Expedition 10 crew (ISS-10) consisting of Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov (flight engineer) and U.S. astronaut Leroy Chiao (commander).
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.
The tasks of the ISS-9 and VC-7 flight have been fulfilled.
During the Expedition 9 flight the station and its systems functionality was supported, two cargo vehicles Progress M-49 and Progress M-50 and a manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-5 were received, three egresses into space from the Russian docking compartment/module Pirs were performed, a program of science and applied research and experiments was completely implemented, the ISS Russian Segment outfitting with the delivered equipment was kept going, planned ATV/ISS Russian Segment integration activities were implemented.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Shargin fulfilled the VC-7 program, worked together with the ISS-9 and ISS-10 crews in the Complex pressurized compartments, took part in the station emergency rescue operations training, conducted necessary medical investigations and physical exercises in preparation for the reentry, installed his seat liner in the third seat of Soyuz TMA-4 descent module.
During the joint flight TV reportings about the Soyuz TMA-5 crew arrival to the ISS, crew ISS-9 to ISS-10 handover and parting ceremonies took place. A press conference during a TV session for the Russian and foreign mass media was held. Video and photo imagery of the crews activities onboard the station was conducted.
Soyuz TMA-4 reentry flight was commanded by the Lead Operational Control Team (LOCT) located 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).
During the de-orbit maneuvers and reentry of Soyuz-TMA-4 spacecraft MCC-M was attended by A.P. Perminov, Roskosmos Director and S. O'Keefe, NASA Administrator, Yu. P. Semenov, Technical Director of Russian Manned Space Programs, General Designer of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, V.V.Tsibliev, Head of RGNII of Yu. Gagarin CTC, as well as Roskosmos, NASA and ESA representatives, leading specialists of RSC Energia, Russina enterprises and organizations involved in the implementation of the International Station program.
The ISS Orbital Complex is flying in a near-earth orbit with the following parameters: inclination of 51.65, maximum and minimum altitudes of 372.4 and 341.2 km, respectively, period of revolution of 91.6 min. The Complex mass is about 182,6 t.
The Expedition 10 crew (ISS-10) consisting of Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and U.S. astronaut Leroy Chiao continue in-orbit operations under the flight program.
Following the report about the crew evacuation from the descent vehicle at MCC-M A.P. Perminov, Roskosmos Director and S. O'Keefe, NASA Administrator, Yu. P. Semenov, General Designer of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, V.V.Tsibliev, Head of RGNII of Yu. Gagarin CTC answered the questions put by the Russian and foreign journalists. According to NASA Administrator, the Russian specialists made unexampled efforts and reached a tremendous success in implementing the ISS-9 flight program and landing of Soyuz TMA-4 spacecraft.
The same morning Soyuz TMA-4 crew was transported to Chkalovsky airdrome by RGNII of Yu. Gagarin GCTC plane, where they were met from the Russian side by co-chairmen of the State Board N.F. Moiseev and V.A. Grin, Yu.P. Semenov, RSC Energia General Designer, from the US. Side by S. O'Keefe, NASA Administrator, as well as relatives and friends. From the airdrome the crew was brought by bus to the Star City to have a rest and post-flight activities.

Key data on the Soyuz TMA, experiment program of ISS-9 and VC-7 are presented in Internet at RSC Energia site at addresses:
www.energia.ru/eng/iss/soyuz-tma/soyuz-tma.html;
www.energia.ru/eng/iss/iss10/res.html,
www.energia.ru/eng/iss/soyuz-tma-5/iss-seventh_russian.html.

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