Soyuz TMA-10M Cleared for Landing Tonight – UPDATE

Soyuz TMA-10M Cleared for Landing Tonight – UPDATE

UPDATE:  Soyuz TMA-10M landed as scheduled.   Bad weather limited the number of helicopters participating in the recovery effort to four instead of 12 and the folks who normally provide live video of the landing were left behind.  So no live audio/video of the descent, but NASA reported that the crew landed on time at 11:24 pm EDT.

ORIGINAL STORY:  Soyuz TMA-10M is on track for landing tonight at 11:24 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) despite inclement weather at the landing site in Kazakhstan.

The three International Space Station (ISS) crew members — Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Mike Hopkins — closed the hatches between the ISS and their Soyuz transport vehicle at 4:58 pm EDT, slightly after the scheduled time of 4:45 pm EDT.   Undocking is expected at 8:02 pm EDT.

Whether the landing would take place tonight or be postponed until later this week was up in the air earlier today because of the snowy, windy, frigid weather.

Three ISS crew members — Japan’s Koichi Wakata, NASA’s Rick Mastracchio and Russia’s Mikhail Tyurin — remain aboard the ISS.  Wakata assumed command of the ISS yesterday, the first Japanese to hold that position.  Another three-man crew is scheduled to launch in about two weeks to restore ISS to its typical 6-person complement.

NASA TV coverage of the undocking begins at 7:45 pm EDT, and of the landing at 10:15 pm EDT.

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