Expedition 36 crew members Pavel Vinogradov, Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin landed in Kazakhstan at 10:58 p.m. Tuesday (8:58 a.m. Kazakhstan time Wednesday). The trio undocked from the Poisk mini-research module in their Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft at 7:37 p.m. EDT, ending a 5-and-a-half month stay at the International Space Station.
The day before, Vinogradov handed over control of the station to Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin in a traditional Change of Command Ceremony in the Zvezda service module. Yurchikhin officially became station commander when the homeward-bound trio undocked.
Commander Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Cassidy and Misurkin first arrived at the International Space Station on March 28. They leave behind new station Commander Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano, who are now the Expedition 37 crew.
The current station residents arrived at the station and docked to the Rassvet module May 28, just four orbits after launch. They are due to go home in November in their Soyuz TMA-09M. The short launch-to-docking timeline replaces the original two-day Soyuz trip to the station.
Waiting back on Earth to join Expedition 37 are future crew members Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy. They are in Kazakhstan preparing for a Sept. 25 launch in their Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft. The new space trio will arrive at the orbital laboratory just four orbits, or six hours, later and dock to Poisk.