3-man Space Station crew comes back to Earth, as Soyuz craft lands in Kazakhstan (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)
Smooth operations from undocking to reentry and landing https://t.co/vdJYyeEOPg— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) June 18, 2016
Expedition 46/47 members European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake from Britain, NASA’s Tim Chopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko began their journey home Saturday morning, undocking from the ISS at 0551GMT.
The astronauts landed in south-central Kazakhstan at 0915GMT after spending 186 days on the International Space Station (ISS).
The return journey involves a bumpy ride back through the Earth’s atmosphere. The Soyuz split into three parts after the “deorbit burn,” causing the orbital and service modules of the spacecraft to burn up on reentry.
#SoyuzTMA19M entering our atmosphere and heating up to 1600°C in a ball of plasma – no radio contact possible. But all going as planned!— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) June 18, 2016
The remaining segment then fired its engines for 4 minutes 37 seconds, slowing its speed by hundreds of miles per hour while it passed through the atmosphere and headed towards the Kazakh steppe landing site.
The landing pod came to rest on one side before rescue teams opened it up, helping to extract the crew from the Soyuz capsule and giving them a medical checkup on site.