0429 GMT (11:29 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Reid Wiseman is now out of the landing capsule. Wiseman is a 38-year-old Baltimore native and a commander in the U.S. Navy. He holds engineering degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University. He flew as a Navy combat and test pilot before his selection as a NASA astronaut in 2009.
0426 GMT (11:26 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Alexander Gerst has exited the Soyuz. The 38-year-old Gerst was born in Kunzelsau, Germany, and holds a doctorate degree in natural sciences from the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Hamburg, with a focus on volcanic eruption dynamics. Gerst was selected as a European Space Agency astronaut in 2009.
0421 GMT (11:21 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Soyuz commander Maxim Suraev has already been extracted from the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. He now has logged two space missions and spent 334 days in space.
0409 GMT (11:09 p.m. EST on Sun.)
There has been no live video from the landing site due to poor weather in the area, NASA says. But all indications are the crew is safe.
0404 GMT (11:04 p.m. EST on Sun.)
NASA reports the Soyuz capsule landed on its side, possibly due to inclement weather. This is a normal occurrence and recovery teams have special procedures to extract the crew with the spacecraft on its side.
0402 GMT (11:02 p.m. EST on Sun.)
NASA confirms the Soyuz landing occurred at 10:58:35 p.m. EST (0358:35 GMT), or 9:58 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan.
0400 GMT (11:00 p.m. EST on Sun.)
TOUCHDOWN! The Soyuz TMA-13M capsule has landed in Kazakhstan, capping the 165-day voyage of Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, NASA flight engineer Reid Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station on Expeditions 40 and 41, a mission that traveled more than 70 million miles.
0356 GMT (10:56 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Soyuz is at an altitude of 2,000 meters now.
0355 GMT (10:55 p.m. EST on Sun.)
At an altitude of about 12 meters, cockpit displays will tell the cosmonauts to prepare for the soft landing engine firing. Just one meter above the surface, and just seconds before touchdown, the six solid propellant engines are fired in a final braking maneuver, enabling the Soyuz to land to complete its mission, settling down at a velocity of about 1.5 meters per second (3.35 mph).
0350 GMT (10:50 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Recovery teams in Kazakhstan indicate they are in contact with the Soyuz crew as it descends under its main parachute.
At an altitude of five kilometers, the module's heat shield is jettisoned. This is followed by the termination of the aerodynamic spin cycle and the dumping of any residual propellant from the Soyuz. Computers also will arm the module's seat shock absorbers in preparation for landing.
With the jettisoning of the capsule's heat shield, the Soyuz altimeter is exposed to the surface of the Earth. Using a reflector system, signals are bounced to the ground from the Soyuz and reflected back, providing the capsule's computers updated information on altitude and rate of descent.
0348 GMT (10:48 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Landing is scheduled about 10 minutes from now. NASA reports no problems so far in the descent, and the Soyuz crew says they are feeling well. They should be descending under parachute now.
0345 GMT (10:45 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Once the drogue chute is jettisoned, the main parachute is deployed. It is connected to the Descent Module by two harnesses, covers an area of about 1,000 square meters and slows descent to 7.2 meters/second.
Initially, the Descent Module will hang underneath the main parachute at a 30-degree angle with respect to the horizon for aerodynamic stability, but the bottommost harness will be severed a few minutes before landing, allowing the Descent Module to hang vertically through touchdown.
0344 GMT (10:44 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Onboard computers should be starting a commanded sequence for deployment of the capsule's parachutes at an altitude of about 10 kilometers. Two "pilot" parachutes are unfurled first, extracting a 24-square-meter drogue parachute. Within 16 seconds, the craft's fall will slow from 230 meters per second to about 80 m/s.
The parachute deployment creates a gentle spin for the Soyuz as it dangles underneath the drogue chute, assisting in the capsule's stability in the final minutes before touchdown.
0343 GMT (10:43 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The Soyuz crew has radioed mission control in Moscow that they are doing just fine.
0342 GMT (10:42 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The crew experiences the period of maximum g-forces at this point during entry.
0338 GMT (10:38 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Twenty minutes to landing. The Soyuz is making its fiery plunge into the atmosphere after 165 days in orbit.
0335 GMT (10:35 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Entry Interface. The Soyuz is now hitting the upper fringes of the atmosphere at an altitude of 400,000 feet, flying at an angle of 1.35 degrees. The Expedition 39 crew will soon begin to feel the first tugs of Earth's gravity after five months in space.
The entry guidance by the spacecraft's onboard software package is scheduled to start in a few minutes.
0333 GMT (10:33 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Mission control in Moscow confirms the Soyuz TMA-13M spaceship's modules have separated.
0332 GMT (10:32 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Module separation should have occurred at this time.
The three segments of the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft have jettisoned apart at an altitude of 87 miles, allowing the crew-carrying Descent Module to safely ferry the three crew members back to Earth. The no-longer-needed Orbital Module and Instrumentation/Propulsion Module are designed to burn up in the atmosphere.
0331 GMT (10:31 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The Soyuz computers should have been loaded with commands to perform the pyrotechnic separation of the modules at this time.
0329 GMT (10:29 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Time to touchdown is now 30 minutes.
In about five minutes at an altitude of 87 miles, just above the first traces of the Earth's atmosphere, computers will command the separation of the three modules that comprise the Soyuz vehicle. With the crew strapped in to the Descent Module, the forward Orbital Module containing the docking mechanism and rendezvous antennas and the rear Instrumentation/Propulsion Module, which houses the engines and avionics, will pyrotechnically separate and burn up in the atmosphere.
The Descent Module's computers will orient the capsule with its ablative heat shield pointing forward to repel the buildup of heat as it plunges into the atmosphere. Entry interface at the upper fringes of the atmosphere, when the capsule is about 400,000 feet above the Earth, happens about three minutes after module separation.
0326 GMT (10:26 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The Soyuz flight path is crossing Africa now as the spacecraft falls back toward the atmosphere. The crew members are expected to close their helmets at this time.
0145 GMT (9:45 p.m. EDT on Wed.)
The Soyuz is aiming for a landing site at 47.3 degrees north latitude and 69.57 east longitude. Landing occurs 1 hour, 23 minutes after sunrise in Kazakhstan.
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0310 GMT (10:10 p.m. EST on Sun.)
DEORBIT BURN COMPLETE! The Soyuz has performed its braking maneuver, committing the craft for entry into the atmosphere. Touchdown is about 48 minutes away.
0305 GMT (10:05 p.m. EST on Sun.)
DEORBIT BURN IGNITION! Thrusters on the Russian Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft are firing to brake from orbit. This deorbit burn is expected to last four minutes and 41 seconds to put the capsule on a course for the trip back to Earth, slowing the vehicle by about 286 mph.
0258 GMT (9:58 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Now one hour to touchdown.
0245 GMT (9:45 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Everything is on track for the landing of the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft at 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT), with the start of the capsule's deorbit burn expected at 10:05 p.m. EST (0305 GMT).
The deorbit burn is programmed to last four minute and 41 seconds to slow the spacecraft's velocity by 286 mph, enough for the Soyuz to drop in altitude and be captured by Earth's atmosphere for re-entry.
Just before it falls into the atmosphere, the Soyuz spacecraft's three modules will separate at 10:32 p.m. EST (0332 GMT). The orbital habitation and service modules will burn up during re-entry, while the landing section containing Maxim Suraev, Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst is protected by a heat shield.
Altitude of the Soyuz spacecraft at module separation will be about 86 miles, or just shy of 140 kilometers.
The Soyuz spacecraft will reach the top of the discernable atmosphere at 10:35 p.m. EST (03335 GMT). The crew members will experience maximum g-forces at 10:41 p.m. EST (0341 GMT).
The Soyuz will issue the command to open parachutes at 10:44 p.m. EST (0344 GMT), beginning a nearly 15-minute descent to the steppes of Kazakhstan northeast of the town of Arkalyk.
A set of so-called "soft landing rockets" will fire just above the ground to further cushion the impact of landing.
0036 GMT (7:36 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The 30-second separation firing by the Soyuz's thrusters has been completed to accelerate the spacecraft's departure from the International Space Station. The capsule will be nearly 8 miles away when it performs the deorbit burn today at 10:05 p.m. EST (0305 GMT). Touchdown is scheduled for 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT).
The undocking occurred as the spacecraft flew over northern China near the Mongolian border.
0031 GMT (7:31 p.m. EST on Sun.)
UNDOCKING. The Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft has separated from the space station after 165 days there, setting the stage for today's return to Earth with Soyuz commander Maxim Suraev, flight engineer Reid Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.
0029 GMT (7:29 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The undocking command has been issued. Hooks and latches holding the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft and the station's Rassvet module tightly together are being opened now.
0015 GMT (7:15 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The homeward-bound crew has worked together for the past couple of hours to power up the Soyuz, activate the craft's systems, remove docking clamps, depressurize the vestibule between the capsule and station, and don their Sokol spacesuits. Undocking is set for 7:31 p.m. EST (0031 GMT).
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2014
2130 GMT (4:30 p.m. EST)
After bidding goodbye to their crewmates, Maxim Suraev, Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst have boarded their Soyuz TMA-13M spaceship and closed the hatches between the ferry craft and the International Space Station.
Hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the space station's Rassevet module closed at 4:27 p.m. EST (2127 GMT).
Undocking is scheduled for 7:31 p.m. EST (0031 GMT).
1300 GMT (8:00 a.m. EST)
An outgoing space station crew is gearing up to ride back to Earth Sunday inside a Russian Soyuz capsule, heading for a parachute-assisted landing on the remote plains of Kazakhstan after 165 days in orbit.
Soyuz commander Maxim Suraev, wrapping up his second space mission, will be in the center seat at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman will be in the left seat assisting Suraev as the Soyuz flight engineer, and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst will sit in the right seat.
Wiseman and Gerst are completing their first spaceflight.
The three-man crew is scheduled to say goodbye to three astronauts remaining on the space station -- Barry "Butch" Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova -- and close hatches leading to their Soyuz spaceship around 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) before buckling into their custom-molded seats for the return trip to Earth.
Undocking of the Soyuz spacecraft from the space station's Earth-facing Rassvet module is set for 7:31 p.m. EST Sunday (0031 GMT Monday), followed by a de-orbit burn at 10:05 p.m. EST (0305 GMT).
The ship's propulsion module and austere living quarters -- designed to burn up during the fall back to Earth -- will be jettisoned at approximately 10:33 p.m. EST (0333 GMT) before the re-entry capsule encounters the first traces of the atmosphere.
Landing in Kazakhstan will occur at 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT), or 9:58 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan.
The trio launched May 28 and docked with the International Space Station about six hours later.
Suraev, 42, will have logged 334 days in space at the time of landing. He view to the space station as a flight engineer on the Expedition 21 and Expedition 22 crews in 2009 and 2010.
Wiseman is a 38-year-old Baltimore native and a commander in the U.S. Navy. He holds engineering degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University. He flew as a Navy combat and test pilot before his selection as a NASA astronaut in 2009.
The 38-year-old Gerst was born in Kunzelsau, Germany, and holds a doctorate degree in natural sciences from the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Hamburg, with a focus on volcanic eruption dynamics. Gerst was selected as a European Space Agency astronaut in 2009.
The Expedition 42 crew formally takes over the space station at the moment of the Soyuz craft's undocking Sunday.
Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova will be joined by three fresh crew mates Nov. 23, when NASA astronaut Terry Virts, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Shkaplerov lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to begin their half-year rotation on the space station.