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Picture-perfect landing for Soyuz crew on sunny Kazakh steppe

Posted by Jason Davis

18-06-2016 9:10 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, human spaceflight, astronaut, International Space Station, Russian human spaceflight

Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are back on Earth today following a picture-perfect landing on the sunny Kazakhstan steppe. 

The crew left the International Space Station in their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft early this morning, pulling back from the Earth-facing Rassvet module at 1:52 a.m. EDT (6:52 UTC). Touchdown occurred three-and-a-half hours later, at 5:15 a.m. 

NASA public affairs officer Dan Huot was in one of the Russian recovery helicopters and called in live to NASA TV to describe the scene.

"It was just real picturesque," Huot said. "We were able to see [the Soyuz] almost the entire way down under chute, and see those soft-landing engines fire. And that was just unreal to see from a helicopter." 

Here's NASA's video recap: 

NASA photographer Bill Ingalls snapped pictures of the Soyuz capsule floating gently past columns of clouds. As usual, his images are stunning:

Soyuz TMA-19M capsule descends

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Soyuz TMA-19M capsule descends
Soyuz TMA-19M capsule descends

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Soyuz TMA-19M capsule descends
Soyuz TMA-19M touchdown

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Soyuz TMA-19M touchdown

NASA said temperatures at the landing site were around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Here's the crew soaking in the sun for the first time in six months:

Expedition 47 crew after landing

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Expedition 47 crew after landing
From left: Tim Peake (European Space Agency), Yuri Malenchenko (Roscosmos), Tim Kopra (NASA).
Thumbs-up from Tim Kopra

NASA / Bill Ingalls

Thumbs-up from Tim Kopra
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra gives a thumbs-up shortly after the landing of the Expedition 47 crew in Kazakhstan.

Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, who remains aboard the station with Alexey Ovchinin and NASA's Jeff Williams, posted a quick ISS mailbox update for Roscosmos shortly after the departing crew boarded their spacecraft. Here are a couple nice pictures he included: 

Expedition 47 crew boards Soyuz TMA-19M

Roscosmos

Expedition 47 crew boards Soyuz TMA-19M
The crew of Expedition 47 prepares to board their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft and return to Earth. From left: Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake.
Expedition 47 crew boards Soyuz TMA-19M

Roscosmos

Expedition 47 crew boards Soyuz TMA-19M
Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko boards Soyuz TMA-19M as the crew of Expedition 47 prepares to return to Earth.

The station's crew complement will remain at three for two-and-a-half weeks. On July 6, Kate Rubins (NASA), Takuya Onishi (JAXA) and Anatoli Ivanishin (Roscosmos) launch from Baikonur on Soyuz MS-01. 

 
See other posts from June 2016

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, human spaceflight, astronaut, International Space Station, Russian human spaceflight

Comments:

Skip: 06/18/2016 09:11 CDT

Does the Soyuz have any backup system for a main chute failure? I know Soyuz 1 had a main chute failure which killed Cosmonaut Vladimir Komorov, so I was wondering what the backup plan is for a main chute failure now.

paul_wi11iams: 06/21/2016 10:09 CDT

follow-on from Skip's comment on 06/18/2016 09:11 CDT: having watched the successful BlueOrigin parachute failure test, I was thinking about this too. See: http://space.stackexchange.com/questions/8427/why-does-soyuz-use-a-single-large-parachute-vs-3-on-most-american-capsules "[The Soyuz capsule] is outfitted with the spacecraft's fully redundant parachute system" See also http://www.russianspaceweb.com/soyuz_sas.html which also refers to two parachute systems, but in the context of a lauch failure (There could also be a launch failure followed by main parachute failure and this would need to be catered for).

paul_wi11iams: 06/21/2016 10:52 CDT

These pictures of astronauts being armchair-carried on Earth return are a poignant reminder of unaddressed or under-addressed issues if SpaceX succeeds in going to Mars. Nasa once published a list of these isssues, I'll try to find the link ! Some people are thinking about this: http://www.science20.com/robert_inventor/blog/can_spinning_habitats_solve_zero_g_problem_and_answer_low_g_questions-129424 (I have absolutely no personnal link with that thought-provoking site but just appreciate it for its worth) Quote "But do we need full g, or Mars g, or lunar g to stay healthy? Nobody knows. Can we cope with a spinning hab a few meters across or do we need to think about a huge hab or tether system a couple of hundred meters across or larger? Again nobody knows. " Could one/two Bigelow module(s) installed near to the ISS be used as a testbed for low G ? PS am looking for quotes syntax. Is there a syntax list for commenting here, or is it bbcode ?

enbore: 06/22/2016 02:19 CDT

our engineering students at http://cae.uonbi.ac.ke are interested in space exploration like the this one Soyuz have done. This information will be a plus for them.

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