Tim Is Back!

Earth reconnected with one of its own this morning when the British astronaut Tim Peake touched down in the Kazakhstan steppe where all-terrain recovery vehicles were waiting for him and his fellow crewmembers Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko to support their departure for homes in the UK, the United States and Russia.

Expedition 47 Soyuz TMA-19M LandingAfter spending 186 days aboard the International Space Station, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko closed the hatch between the International Space Station and their TMA-19M spacecraft and undocked at 06:52 UTC (07:53 BST) 413 km (254 miles) over eastern Mongolia to begin their voyage home. Malenchenko was at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

They performed a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4 minute, 37 second deorbit burn at 08:22 UTC. The crew touched down at 09:15 UTC (10:15 BST/15:15 local time) southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The trio’s departure marked the end of Expedition 47. The Expedition 48 crew members, Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, along with his crewmates Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin, will continue research and maintenance aboard the station. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will join them next month.

The next issue of Spaceflight will carry an eight-page coverage of Tim Peake’s mission with analysis of the man himself and what his flight means for UK space activities and for the British contribution to the European Space Agency.

David Baker
Editor Spaceflight

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