Sequence of events: hatch closure to landing

The sequence of events below are as expected on 1 July for the return of the Soyuz TMA-03M with ESA astronaut André Kuipers, NASA’s Don Pettit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. Departure starts with the undocking command at 06:50 CEST (04:50 UT) and ends with landing in Kazakhstan at 10:15 CEST (08:15 UT).

03:32 CEST (01:32 UT) – Hatch closure

06:44 CEST (04:44 UT) – Undocking command to open hooks and latches

06:47 CEST (04:47 UT) – Hooks opened / physical Separation of Soyuz TMA-03M from the Rassvet/MRM1 module at 0.12 m/s

Physical separation (Credit: NASA)

Physical separation from Rassvet on this occasion (not Pirs) (Credit: NASA)

06:56 CEST (04:56 UT) – Separation burn from ISS (15 second burn of the Soyuz engines, 0.55 m/s; Soyuz distance from the ISS is ~15-20 metres)

09:19 CEST (07:19 UT) – Deorbit Burn (4 min 15 sec in duration, 115.2 m/sec; Soyuz distance from the ISS is ~12 km)

Deorbit burn (Credit: NASA)

Deorbit burn (Credit: NASA)

09:48 CEST (07:48 UT) – Separation of modules (~23 mins after deorbit Burn; 140 km altitude; undocking command + ~2 hours, 57 mins.)

Separation of modules (Credit: NASA)

Separation of modules (Credit: NASA)

09:51 CEST (07:51 UT) – Entry interface (101.8 km altitude)

Reentry in Earth's atmosphere (Credit: NASA)

Reentry in Earth’s atmosphere (Credit: NASA)

10:00 CEST (08:00 UT) – Command to open chutes (10.7 km altitude)

Two Pilot Parachutes are first deployed, the second of which extracts the Drogue
Chute. The Drogue Chute is then released, measuring 24 square meters, slowing the Soyuz down from a descent rate of 230 m/s to 80 m/s.

The main parachute is then released, covering an area of 1000 square metres; it slows the Soyuz to a descent rate of 7.2 m/s; its harnesses first allows the Soyuz to descend at an angle of 30 degrees to expel heat, then shifts the Soyuz to a straight vertical descent.

Main parachute deployed (Credit: NASA)

Main parachute deployed (Credit: NASA)

Appx. 2 seconds before landing – Soft Landing Engine Firing (6 engines fire to slow the Soyuz descent rate to 1.5 m/s just 0.8 meter above the ground)

Soft Landing Engine Firing (Credit: ESA)

Soft Landing Engine Firing (Credit: ESA)

10:15:02 CEST (08:15:02 UT/14:15:02 Kazakhstan time) – Landing (Descent take about 3 hours 24 mins) 217 km SE of Dzhezkazgan; 7 hours 1 minute before sunset at the landing site in Kazakhstan.

Landing, deploy antenna (Credit: NASA)

Landing, deploy antenna (Credit: NASA)

Crew departure to Houston. Landing +5.5 hours; duration of flight: 16.5 hours

NASA images

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