Welcome home to Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin! The trio landed safely in Kazakhstan at 02:54 UTC on Monday, September 17 (8:53 a.m. Kazakhstan time Monday, 10:53 p.m. EDT Sunday, September 16). Expedition 32 officially ended when Soyuz TMA-04M the trio undocked at 23:09 UTC Sunday from the Poisk module. The had been on the International Space Station since May 17, spending a total of 123 days on the orbital laboratory.
The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft is seen as it lands with the Expedition 32 crew. Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi
Expedition 33 is now underway as Commander Suni Williams and Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malenchenko continue their stay until Nov. 12
Padalka ceremonially handed the controls of the station over to Williams on Saturday afternoon. He previously commanded two International Space Station missions including Expeditions 9 and 19. His first spaceflight was aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1998 bringing his total spaceflight experience to 711 days.
Here’s the undocking video:
Williams is serving her second mission in space, her first being Expedition 14 as flight engineer. She has conducted six spacewalks, four during Expedition 14 and two on Expedition 32, for a total of 44 hours and two minutes.
A new crew is set to join Expedition 33 when Flight Engineers Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin launch Oct. 15 aboard the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft for an Oct. 17 docking to Poisk. Ford will command Expedition 34 when Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko complete their mission.
On the 37th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz docking, a new international crew of three arrived at the International Space Station. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, and JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide and joined their Expedition 32 crewmates early Tuesday, bringing the crew compliment on the station back to six.
At 9:40 p.m. CDT a Soyuz TMA-05M rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Expedition 32 Commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA Flight Engineer Sunita “Suni” Williams and JAXA Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide to the International Space Station. It was a beautiful launch on a hot summer day at the Cosmodrome — watch the video after the jump:
(My favorite part was when the Soyuz punched a hole in the clouds!)
Exact time of the launch was 9:40:3.91 CDT, docking with the ISS will occur on Monday at 11:52 p.m. CDT. Read more about the crew of Expedition 32 here.
Of historical note, the Expedition 32 launch occurred on the same day that the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project launched in 1975. Designed to test the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems and the possibility of an international space rescue, the nine-day Apollo-Soyuz mission brought together two former spaceflight rivals: the United States and the Soviet Union. Without the success of that project, we might not have had an International Space Station in orbit today.
Images: NASA/Carla Cioffi. Video: NASA HD TV/Ustream