Three crewmembers of the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 crew – comprising American astronaut Suni Williams, Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko – have undocked from the ISS on time at 10:26 PM GMT in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft, also known by its US designation of 31S. Landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan is scheduled for 1:53 AM GMT Monday morning.
Soyuz TMA-05M launched to the ISS back on 15 July, with docking to the Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1) “Rassvet” module occurring two days later on 17 July. Although the crew have had an unusually short four-month (125 day) flight, it has been one that occurred during an extremely busy period on the ISS.
Notable milestones during the short Soyuz TMA-05M flight include the first rendezvous and docking of a Progress supply craft using the new Kurs-NA system, two same day launches and dockings of Progress craft, the completion of the Japanese HTV-3 mission, the completion of the SpaceX Dragon CRS-1 mission, and the undocking of the European ATV-3 vessel.
Additionally, the completion of one Russian spacewalk, the completion of two US spacewalks to replace the faulty Main Bus Switching Unit-1 (MBSU-1), the completion ...