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Current Nasa News:Expedition 21 Crew Lands in Kazakhstan

December 2, 2009 1 comment
12.01.09

Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft

Image above: The Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft carrying Flight Engineers Frank De Winne, Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk lands in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos/NASA TV

Expedition 21 Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk have returned to Earth, landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan in their Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft. Landing occurred at 2:15 a.m. EST Tuesday, 1:15 p.m. Kazakhstan time.

All three crew members were reported to be in good condition. Due to icy conditions at the landing site, the landing support team recalled its helicopters to their bases in Kustanai and Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. Instead the team arrived in all-terrain vehicles from nearby Arkalyk to extract the Expedition 21 crew members from the Soyuz crew module.

Romanenko, De Winne and Thirsk spent 188 days in space, 186 of those aboard the orbiting International Space Station. The three arrived at the station in May as part of Expedition 20, which marked the start of six-person crew operations aboard the station. With their arrival, all five of the international partner agencies – NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – were represented on orbit for the first time.

Romanenko, a cosmonaut with Roscosmos, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21. He was selected as a test-cosmonaut candidate of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Cosmonaut Office in December 1997. The son of veteran Cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, he qualified as a test cosmonaut in November 1999.

De Winne, an ESA astronaut, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21 and commander for Expedition 21. He spent nine days aboard the station in 2002 as a member of the Odissea mission arriving on a new spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-1, then leaving on an older Soyuz TM-34.

Thirsk, a CSA astronaut, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21. In 1996, Thirsk flew as a payload specialist astronaut aboard space shuttle mission STS-78, the Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission.

After traveling back to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, the crew members will be reunited with their families and start their reorientation to a gravity environment after a half year off the planet.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev remain on the station, comprising the Expedition 22 crew as a two-man contingent for three weeks until the arrival Dec. 23 of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA’s T.J. Creamer, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who will launch to the station Dec. 20 on the Soyuz TMA-17 craft.

Atlantis Given “Go” for Deorbit Burn

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Fri, 27 Nov 2009 06:59:25 PM GMT+0530

Mission Control Capcom Chris Ferguson radioed a “go for deorbit burn” to space shuttle Atlantis Commander Charlie Hobaugh at 8:14 a.m. EST. The three minute, seven second maneuver scheduled for 8:37 a.m. will slow Atlantis by more than 200 miles per hour and lead to a landing at 9:44 a.m. at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The STS-129 Crew

Image above: The STS-129 crew members show some of their Thanksgiving food items during an in-flight media interview: Photo credit: NASA TV

<!– › High-res image –>› Meet the STS-129 Crew

Crew Begins Landing Day
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis has begun what is scheduled to be the STS-129 mission’s landing day.

Atlantis will be bringing home Mission Specialist and former Expedition 20 and 21 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott, who spent 87 days on the International Space Station. Her return brings to an end nearly a decade of space shuttle use to rotate crew on the station.

With the weather in Florida looking perfect for a landing, Atlantis’ first opportunity is at Kennedy Space Center on orbit 171. It would see a deorbit burn at 8:37 a.m. EST. Landing would be at 9:44 a.m.

Atlantis is winding up a mission that included three spacewalks and more than six days at the International Space Station. The orbiter took 14 tons of cargo in its payload bay, including two large carriers with spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired next year, to the orbiting laboratory.

Tuesday at 10 a.m., European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne handed over command of the station to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. De Winne and Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are scheduled to leave the station for return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 30.

› View video of change of command ceremony

On Sunday, Bresnik told the flight controllers his new daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, had been born in Houston at 11:04 p.m. CST Saturday. He said his wife Rebecca and new daughter, 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long, were doing well. Bresnik got the news by private phone patch through mission control shortly after the crew was awakened.

Hatches Open, Crews Begin Joint Operations

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

ISS021-E-024311 -- Frank De Winne

Image above: Expedition 21 Commander Frank De Winne moves a High Definition Video (HDV) camera and equipment from the Kibo laboratory into the Harmony node of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 21 crew welcomed a new set of visitors aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday.

After a series of leak checks, the hatches between the two vehicles opened at 1:28 p.m. EST marking the start of joint operations. Space shuttle Atlantis docked with the station at 11:51 a.m.

Hatch opening also marked the end of Flight Engineer Nicole Stott’s two-and-a-half-month stint with the space station’s crew. She officially became a member of the STS-129 crew, and the station will be manned by a five-person crew until Dec. 1, when Commander Frank De Winne and Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk will depart the station in their Soyuz vehicle.

The STS-129 mission will focus on storing spare hardware on the exterior of the station. The 11-day flight will include three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the station’s truss, or backbone. The platforms will hold spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. This equipment is large and can only be transported using the unique capability of the shuttle.

For the latest news and information on the STS-129 mission, visit the main shuttle page.