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Station Crew Undocks, Heads Back to Earth


Station Crew Undocks, Heads Back to Earth


Commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, the 
13th crew of the International Space Station, undocked in their Soyuz 
spacecraft from the orbiting laboratory at 5:53 p.m. EDT Thursday and 
headed for a 9:14 p.m. landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

iss013e82952 -- The departing members of Expedition 13With them is 
Spaceflight Participant Anousheh Ansari, an American businesswoman, who 
flew to the space station with the Expedition 14 crew and spent about 
eight days aboard. She was on the station under a contract with the 
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

Vinogradov and Williams will spend several weeks in Star City, near 
Moscow, for debriefing and medical examinations. Vinogradov served 
aboard the Russian space station Mir for 198 days in late 1997 and early 
1998. He did five spacewalks, and another with Williams. Williams, an 
Army colonel, flew on STS-101 in May 2000. He did one spacewalk during 
that flight to the station and two on E13.

They launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last March 30 
and docked with the station April 1. E13 participated in the return to 
assembly of the station. The Space Shuttle Atlantis brought the P3/P4 
truss and its solar wings to the station during its STS-115 mission 
Sept. 9 to 21. They also continued station maintenance and did 
scientific experiments.

Before closing the Soyuz-station hatches about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, 
Vinogradov and Williams said farewell to the Expedition 14 crew, 
Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. That 
crew launched with Ansari from Baikonur Sept. 18 at 12:09 a.m.

Lopez-Alegria is a veteran of three spaceflights on the space shuttle, 
including two missions to the station, where he did five spacewalks. 
Tyurin spent 125 days aboard the station as a member of the Expedition 3 
crew between August and December 2001.

Joining them during their stay on the station is Thomas Reiter, a 
European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, also flying under a 
Roscosmos contract. He arrived at the station in July aboard Discovery 
on STS-121 and served with Expedition 13 during the last part of its 
increment. He participated in one of the two E13 spacewalks.

Reiter is the first non-Russian, non-U.S. long-duration crew member on 
station. He brought the station crew back to three members for the first 
time since May 2003, in the wake of the Columbia accident.
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