The three-person disembarking crew undocked from Port Nadir on the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) at 01:13 UTC. The landing took place around 04:36 UTC.
Launch of the Soyuz MS-18 and arrived at International Space Station (ISS) on April 9 with cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Piotr Dubrovnik, as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. On September 28, the spacecraft was moved manually from port nadir on Rassvet to port nadir on Nauka.
With the conclusion of this Soyuz mission, Novitsky will have completed his third space flight.
For me, the 65th international expedition @Space station is the most intense of the three orbital flights.
– Oleg Novitskiy (@novitskiy_iss) October 13, 2021
Dubrovnik and Vande Hai will disembark on board Soyuz MS-19 in March, as their seats will be occupied by Peresild and Shipenko for the return trip. The last Soyuz spacecraft to have a different landing crew than the launch was Soyuz MS-15 , with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan.
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Peresild and Shipenko arrived at the ISS on October 5 with Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Skaplerov on Soyuz MS-19. Peresild and Shipenko both made the trip to the station as participants in a space flight to film scenes from a future Russian movie called “The Challenge”.
For the film, Shipenko has the role of director, while Peresild is the lead actress. Scenes in the film were shot on the Russian and international segments of the ISS, including the Cupola module.
After saying goodbye to the current ISS crew, Peresild, Shipenko, and Novitsky entered the Soyuz MS-18 and the Soyuz and Nauka hatches were closed. The crew then put on their Sokol launch and entry suits and will wear them until after landing.
Novitsky, as the commander of the spacecraft, ordered the spacecraft to open the hooks around the docking ring on the orbital module. These hooks are designed to keep the spacecraft and station attached.
Springs then push the Soyuz away from the station with a speed change of about 0.12 m / s.
With the undocking of the Soyuz MS-18, Expedition 66 officially started at the station. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) is currently the station commander.
Usually Saturdays and Sundays for the ISS crew are days off. Astronauts can do whatever they want
– ROSCOSMOS (@roscosmos) October 9, 2021
About three minutes after undocking the spacecraft, a separation burn occurred, lasting eight seconds. After the spacecraft moved about 20 meters away from the space station, a separation burn was performed. The burn lasted 15 seconds and placed the spacecraft a safe distance from the ISS on an initial free flight path.
Then the spacecraft reoriented in a retrograde orientation. The desorbit burn lasting approximately 4 minutes and 45 seconds occurred, slowing the spacecraft to a suborbital path.
Burning was carried out using the main motor located on the service module.
About 30 minutes before landing in Kazakhstan, explosive bolts were fired to separate the orbital module and service module from the descent module, where the crew is located. The orbital and service modules burn on re-entry.
Flying on a northeast trajectory, the descent module entered the re-entry section of the plasma regime at approximately 80 kilometers altitude. At the same time, the crew went into a brief communication failure.
The crew resumed communications with the ground at an altitude of approximately 37 kilometers.
At about ten kilometers of altitude, the cover of the parachute was released. This began a sequence of four parachutes to decelerate the spacecraft before landing. First, two pilot parachutes deployed, followed by the stabilizer parachute, then the main one.
The heat shield released from the descent module at an altitude of about five kilometers. The excess fuel inside the spacecraft has vented as the descent module descends to the ground.
As the spacecraft nears the ground, the crew seats automatically rise to cushion the crew from impact upon landing.
The Soyuz MS-18 landed 147 kilometers from the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan. For landing and recovery, military aircraft from the Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions of Russia were transferred to the airfields of Karaganda and Zhezkazgan, both located in the Republic of Kazakhstan. These included 10 Mi-8MTV-5 helicopters, two Antonov-12 aircraft and one Antonov-26 aircraft.
After the departure of the Soyuz MS-18, the Progress MS-17 cargo ship , currently moored at the Poisk module, is expected to be moved to the nadir port of Nauka on October 22. Once Progress has been filled with trash, it will undock from Nauka in November, taking the Nauka Mooring Adapter with it.
This will free up the port for the arrival of Progress M-UM with the new Pritchal module, which requires a different docking port than needed for standard Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. The launch of Pritchal is scheduled for November 24 at the earliest from Baikonur. The module is currently at the Baikonur Cosmodrome undergoing pre-launch.
(Main image: The ISS seen from the Soyuz MS-18 during the relocation in September. Credit: Roscosmos)