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EXP - 10 ON WAY TO RUSSIA



Submitted by Arthur N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer 
Salizhan Sharipov, the 10th crew of the International Space Station, 
undocked their Soyuz spacecraft at 2:45 p.m. EDT Sunday, beginning their 
return home after more than six months in space.

With them was European Space Agency Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy, 
who came to the Station with the Expedition 11 crew and spent eight days 
doing experiments. He was aboard under a contract between ESA and the 
Russian Federal Space Agency.

Landing is scheduled for 6:08 p.m. EDT in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Sharipov undocked the spacecraft manually as a precautionary measure to 
conserve energy. Although the back up battery charge is thought to be 
adequate if it were required for the undocking, it has shown signs of a 
reduced charge since the Soyuz relocation in November. The primary 
battery is fully operational, but in order to ensure adequate battery 
power for normal and contingency operations, Sharipov delayed the switch 
to internal Soyuz power until just before undocking.

Chiao and Sharipov launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan 
last Oct. 13 at 11:06 p.m. EDT, in the same Soyuz spacecraft that is 
bringing them home. During their increment they performed two 
spacewalks, continued station maintenance activities and performed 
scientific experiments.

Before closing the Soyuz hatches Sunday they said farewell to the 
Expedition 11 crew, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA ISS Science 
Officer John Phillips. They launched with Vittori from Baikonur April 14 
at 8:46 p.m. EDT to begin their six-month stay in space.

+ Read more about Soyuz landing 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/soyuz/landing.html> 

+ Read more about Expedition 11 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition11/index.html>
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