Welcome back home, Sox, Don & Nick! After 162 days in space (160 aboard ISS), the Expedition 6 crew landed successfully in Kazakhstan last night at 10:07pm EDT in the 5S/Soyuz TMAS-1 Descent Module. [Touchdown occurred 460 km short (southwest) of the intended site, at 49.37 deg North, 61.2 deg East, i.e., closer to Baikonur than to the more northeasterly capital city of Astana. After a lengthy search for the spacecraft, the first two helicopters reached it at about 2:36am, four-and-a-half hours after its touchdown. At first, the crew, which was found in good health and great shape, was to be flown to the nearer Baikonur Cosmodrome. But later the SAR (search and recovery) forces reverted to the earlier plan and transported Ken Bowersox, Nikolai Budarin and Donald Pettit to Astana, prior to their flight to Zwezdniy Gorodok (Star City) today.]
On board the ISS, now under new management, all systems continue to function nominally, except as noted previously. It is Sunday and a crew rest day (as will be tomorrow, Monday).
After wakeup at a comfortably shifted 8:00am (sleep time: 5:30pm), the new crew, Yuri Malenchenko and Edward Lu, began having the huge space station all to themselves. [Soon enough, they will fill it up again with the sounds of maintenance and science (11 hrs. per week planned for the latter).]
CDR Malenchenko collected the weekly data readings of the SVO water supply and SP toilet flush counters for calldown to MCC-Moscow via S-band, then completed the periodic inspection of the Elektron oxygen generator's gas/liquid system (VM) for the air bubbles that usually linger after an IFM (in-flight maintenance).
Malenchenko also performed the daily routine task of SOZh life support systems maintenance and conducted Nikolai Budarin's favored task, the daily checkup of the BIO-5 "Rasteniya-2/Lada-2" zero-G plant growth experiment.
Both crewmembers had their first PFCs (private family conferences), FE/SO Ed Lu via S-band and Malenchenko via Russian UHF (VHF) and Ku-Band.
Yesterday's IWIS (internal instrumentation system) data take went off as planned. The stored structural dynamics (vibratory) data will be downlinked on 5/6 (Tuesday).
EXPRESS Rack 1 (ER1) was re-powered overnight by the ground. Science Officer Lu was requested to also power up the ER1 laptop,
During specific orbits, regular daily Russian ground-commanded comm S-band exchanges took place, e.g., RCT (Russian contingency telemetry), smoke detector test, DC-1 power control bus monitoring, battery restoration commanding, and uplinks of Service Module onboard daily flight programs, prop limits (30 kg), and state vector.
Today's [optional] CEO (crew earth observations) targets, including cities during daylight and at night (again available as targets in the current LVLH attitude) were Seattle, Washington (nadir pass; ESC [electronic still camera]), Denver, Colorado (nadir pass; ESC), Dallas, Texas (nadir pass; ESC), Lake Texoma, Texas/Oklahoma (aerial photos of the border region are old or non-existent. Scientists are interested in two aspects of this North Texas lake: 1. a growing delta formed where the major Red River is filling into the head of the lake; 2. water chemistry, which is related to muddy water inflows--detailed views which show water color differences are requested. Images taken with the 800mm lens would be very useful), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) (nadir pass, city at night), and Coastal cities, China (cities at night; nadir pass parallel with the coast opposite Taiwan. Fuzhou city was the biggest group of lights. Zhangzhou, Xiamen, and Quanzhou were nearby lesser clusters. Taiwanese cities were right of track). CEO images can be viewed at the websites http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov and http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:45am EDT [= epoch]):