Expedition 38 Safely Back on Earth

Expedition  38 Credit : NASA TV

Expedition 38
Credit : NASA TV

From NASA:

Expedition 38 Lands In Kazakhstan Completing Mission

Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Expedition 38 Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy landed in Kazakhstan at 11:24 p.m. EDT. They landed inside the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft ending their mission after five-and-a-half months aboard the International Space Station. The trio undocked from the Poisk module at 8:02 p.m. EDT.

Staying behind are new Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mikhail Tyurin. The crew members arrived at the station’s Rassvet module Nov. 7 aboard a Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft. They are scheduled to return home in mid-May. Wakata, a Japanese astronaut, is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s first station commander.

Kotov is completing his third mission aboard the orbital laboratory for a total of 526 days in space. He served as a flight engineer during Expedition 15 in 2007. He then served for six months as an Expedition 22/23 crew member beginning in December 2009.

Hopkins and Ryazanskiy are wrapping up their first space mission each accumulating 166 days in space. During his stay aboard the orbital laboratory, Hopkins conducted a pair of U.S. spacewalks for a total 12 hours and 58 minutes. Ryazanskiy conducted three Russian spacewalks during his mission working outside the station for 20 hours and five minutes.

Hopkins joined NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio for the first pair of Expedition 38 spacewalks installing a new ammonia pump module to restore the station’s cooling system. The U.S. astronauts began the first spacewalk Dec. 21 exiting the Quest airlock to remove and stow a degraded pump module. They completed the installation of the new pump module during a second spacewalk on Dec. 24.

Shortly after those excursions, Ryazanskiy and Kotov exited the Pirs docking compartment Dec. 27 to install photographic gear, route cables, remove completed external experiments and install new scientific gear. The duo went out a second time Jan. 27 to complete the photographic installation work, retrieve more science gear and enable robotic arm operations on the station’s Russian segment.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy’s first spacewalk occurred Nov. 9 when the duo handed off the Olympic torch in its first ever outer space portion of the relay. The torch was returned to Earth the next day and used to light the Olympic flame Feb. 7 at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Kotov has completed six spacewalks over his cosmonaut career accumulating 36 hours and 51 minutes outside the space station in a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

Waiting to replace the returning trio are Expedition 39/40 crew members Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev. They are in Star City, Russia, completing mission training and making final preparations for their March 25 launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

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