ROSCOSMOS - Soyuz TMA-15M Mission patch.
June 11, 2015
Image above: The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 43 backs away from the International Space Station after undocking on time. Image Credit: NASA TV.
After spending 199 days aboard the International Space Station, Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov undocked from the station at 6:20 a.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. Shkaplerov, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft.
They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 35-second deorbit burn at 8:51 a.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 9:43 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
ISS Expedition 43 Farewell, Hatch Closure and Undocking from the ISS
Video above: At 6:20 a.m. June 11, NASA’s Terry Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos undocked their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft from the International Space Station to return back to Earth and land in Kazakhstan at 9:43 a.m. (7:43 p.m. Kazakh time). Their return wraps up 199 days in space, during which they traveled more than 84 million miles since their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 24. Their return date was delayed four weeks to allow Roscosmos to investigate the cause of the loss of the un-piloted Progress 59 cargo ship in late April.
The departure of Virts, Cristoforetti and Shkaplerov marks the end of Expedition 43. The Expedition 44 crew members, Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos will continue research and maintenance aboard the station and will be joined next month by three additional crew members, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-15M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 8:30 a.m. at http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
International Space Station (ISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/NASA TV.