Expedition 9 Returns to Earth

Status Report From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2004

image Image: Soyuz 8 spacecraft re-entering Earth's atmosphere as seen from the International Space Station.

The Expedition 9 crew --Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke -- and Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin have returned to Earth. Landing occured without incident at 8:36 p.m. EDT (0036 GMT).

Their ISS Soyuz 8 spacecraft, which undocked from the International Space Station at 4:08 p.m. CDT (2108 GMT) today.

Before undocking, the trio bid farewell to the Stationís new resident crew, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov. Expedition 10 officially took command of the ISS from Expedition 9 when the hatches between the Soyuz and Station were closed at 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT) today.

Padalka and Fincke are returning home after spending six months at the Station. Shargin, who arrived at the orbital outpost on Oct. 15 with Expedition 10, is wrapping up an eight-day stay at the ISS devoted to scientific research.

Meanwhile, Chiao and Sharipov are in the early stages of their tour of duty on the Space Station. They will spend the next six months continuing ISS science operations and maintaining Station systems. They will also prepare the Station for the Space Shuttle's Return to Flight and conduct two spacewalks.

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