Sep. 25, 2010
RELEASE : 10-231
WASHINGTON -- Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko landed their Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft in Kazakhstan on Saturday, Sept. 25, wrapping up a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station.
Skvortsov, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 10:02 p.m. EDT Friday from the Poisk module's docking port on the station's Zvezda module. The undocking and landing occurred a day later than planned because of a hatch sensor problem Thursday night. That problem prevented hooks on the Poisk side of the docking mechanism from opening. Station crew members installed a series of jumper cables, bypassing the sensor, and the Poisk module hooks retracted.
Following undocking and a normal descent, the crew landed at 1:23 a.m. near Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.
Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after 176 days in space. Skvortsov and Kornienko will return Saturday to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow.
The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in April. As members of the Expedition 23 and 24 crews, they spent 174 days on the station. Caldwell Dyson and Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock conducted three spacewalks to replace a faulty cooling pump module on the station's backbone, known as the truss. Kornienko conducted one spacewalk to prepare the recently delivered Russian Rassvet Module for future automated dockings by Russian spacecraft.
The station is occupied by Wheelock, who assumed command of the station Wednesday, NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker, and Russian Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin, who arrived in mid-June.
A new trio of Expedition 25 crew members - NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka - will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Oct. 7 (Oct. 8 in Kazakhstan) and arrive on the station about 48 hours later.
NASAtelevision | September 24, 2010
The Soyuz spacecraft that'll carry Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov, NASA Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko back to Earth is seen as it undocks from the International Space Station on Sept. 23. The trio is completing almost six months in space.
The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. Russian Cosmonauts Skvortsov and Kornienko and NASA Astronaut Caldwell Dyson, are returning from six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 23 and 24 crews. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASAtelevision | September 25, 2010
Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov, NASA Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko landed safely in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25 following farewells and undocking from the International Space Station. The trio was originally scheduled to return to Earth on the Sept. 24, but problems with the Poisk module docking mechanism forced managers and engineers to postpone the trip by one day. Skvortsov, Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko spent almost six months in space.
NASAtelevision| September 25, 2010
Expedition 24 Alexander Skvortsov, NASA Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko were warmly welcomed back to earth in a traditional ceremony at the airport in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Sept. 24, just a few hours after their landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. Later Skvortsov and Kornienko returned to Russia, while Caldwell Dyson prepared for her return to Houston.
...September 27, 2010
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov admitted Monday to disappointment when he and his two crew had to return to the International Space Station after their Soyuz spaecraft failed to undock.
After 175 days in orbit, the unprecedented problems delayed for a day the return to Earth of Skvortsov, fellow-cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and US astronaut Tracy Caldwell.
"Until the very last, we hoped to find a way out of the situation," mission commander Skvortsov told reporters after finally returning to the space flight centre at Star City near Moscow.
He admitted to frustration and fatigue when cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, remaining aboard the space station, saw the latches locking the Soyuz to the ISS refuse to open and later discovered a loose gear piece near the hatch.
"Of course I was disappointed... when Fyodor saw the technical malfunction from the outside and we understood 'that's it', we would have to go back to the station, start from scratch. It's not easy," he was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
The weary crew succeeded in a second undocking attempt 24 hours later, landing safely Saturday exactly on time and at the appointed location in the central Kazakh steppes.
"Our happiness was unbounded when the flight control centre congratulated us and we understood that we had succeeded," Skvortsov said.
"There was a great deal of stress before the landing, but it was positive and full of emotions."
Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut made it safely back to Earth on Saturday after a technical glitch in orbit threatened their return.
Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko and US astronaut Tracey Caldwell-Dyson landed in Kazakhstan on Saturday, one day later than the scheduled date.
For the first time, the Soyuz spacecraft failed to undock from the International Space Station due to several broken cogs on a hatch gear, so the return had to be postponed. The problem, which was not considered serious by the mission control, was fixed and the second attempt to unhitch went smoothly.
The cosmonauts shared some experiences from space with the audience.
“I love spicy food, I make really hot chili sauce myself,” Aleksander Skvortsov said. “I missed it badly. I finished off all the spicy ketchup stock on the ISS and shocked everyone by making and eating wasabi sandwiches. That's my fuel, as good as a rocket's.”
“The thing you miss there most of all is the Earth itself,” Mikhail Kornienko confessed. “I missed smells. I missed trees, I even dreamt of them. I even hallucinated. I thought I smelled a real fire and something being barbecued on it! I ended up putting pictures of trees on the walls to cheer up. You do miss the Earth there.”
Soyuz TMA-18 space vehicle successfully landed this weekend returned not only 3 crew members of the International Space Station, but also two containers with fruit flies. The flies born in zero-gravity are to help the scientists to study space impact risk mitigation for the genomes.
The flies studied under Polygen experiment were chosen due to their reparation system which is similar to the human’s one. In addition, the flies propagate quickly, giving the scientists the opportunity to have much material for their work.
Fruit flies were delivered to the station by Progress in mid September, 10 maggots in each of the two containers. Then, after oviposition of the flies hatched from the maggots, the second generation of the flies appeared. Several dozens of insects returned to the Earth last Saturday, in order to let scientists verifying their capabilities in zero-g, with the further on purpose to use the results for similar evaluations of the human body.
...By Mike Wall
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 29 September 2010
08:46 pm ET
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson has many memories from her six months in space, but one thing stands out above all else: the incomparable view.
Caldwell Dyson and two cosmonaut colleagues returned to Earth Saturday (Sept. 25), touching down in Kazakhstan after spending 176 days aboard the International Space Station. Looking out the station's window at her home planet will stick with her always, Caldwell Dyson said.
"You get quite emotional looking out there," she said at a news conference in the Kazakh city of Karaganda on Sept. 25. "Because no picture you take, no picture you draw, can ever really capture what you're seeing and the magnitude of it."
...By Clara Moskowitz
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 16 October 2010
07:46 am ET
During her six months on the International Space Station, American astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson experienced lots of laughs – and lots of stress.
Caldwell Dyson, of NASA, returned to Earth Sept. 25 with two Russian crewmates aboard their Soyuz spacecraft, capping a mission that included three emergency spacewalks to fix a broken cooling pump that is vital to the station.
"I think anything of that magnitude can be a little stressful at times, but stress can be quite a motivator," Caldwell Dyson told SPACE.com Friday (Oct. 15). "I think the stress we felt was just the criticality, the nature of what has failed and the importance of getting out there and getting it fixed. But there was tremendous focus, not just on orbit but on the ground."
She and fellow American astronaut Douglas Wheelock successfully repaired the pump during their spacewalks and got the station back in good health, with help from their crewmates Alexander Skvortsov, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mikhail Kornienko of Russia, and Shannon Walker of NASA.
There were also light moments, including jokes shared round the dinner table in the evening, and weightless hijinks.
"I would say some of the funnest parts are of course when you're looking out the window or when we have a vehicle that's arriving, be it a Progress ship or one that's actually carrying people on it – those are exciting moments," Caldwell Dyson said.
During her time on the space station, Caldwell Dyson also became the first astronaut to deliver an address in sign language. In July she recorded a video for deaf children to give them a glimpse of what life as an astronaut is like.
Ultimately, her space mission was a blast, she said.
"I'd say overall it just went perfectly for me," she said. "It was a perfect length of time filled with great moments, great people."
It was the second trip to space for Caldwell Dyson, who flew aboard the STS-118 space shuttle mission of Endeavour in 2007. But it was her first trip back to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, which offers a different, sometimes rougher ride than the shuttle.
"It certainly didn't disappoint," she said of her ride home. "It was pretty exciting and all the bangs, bells, whistles and sensations were there. The magnitude of some things were a little surprising, but for the most part it was a pretty exciting ride."
Soyuz TMA-18/ISS 23-24 crew successfully completed the mission program, Roscosmos Stats Secretary- Deputy Head Vitaly Davydov stated today during ‘Welcome-Home’ ceremony for Alexander Skvortsov, Mikhail Kornienko, Tracy Caldwell Dyson at Star City.
Davydov also noted that the crew was very professional, despite the fact that it had been the first space mission for Skvortsov and Kornienko.
The crew spent more than 170 days in the station, received 6 space vehicles, performed more than 40 experiments, including the international ones, took part in integration of new Russian module Rassvet which enhanced the capabilities of the Russian segment.
Roscosmos Deputy Head congratulated the crew and presented special awards of the Federal Space Agency to Alexander Skvortsov, Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson.