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Soyuz TMA-18 Crew Prepares for Returning Home. / September 23, 2010 /

Aboard the International Space Station Tuesday, Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko conducted final Soyuz descent training in preparation for their undocking Thursday at 9:34 p.m. EDT. The trio reviewed the effects of the sudden gravitational forces they will experience as their Soyuz TMA-18 capsule re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere and deploys its parachutes for a landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 12:55 a.m. Friday.

Skvortsov also conducted a test of the Soyuz’s motion control system while Caldwell Dyson and Kornienko packed up additional items for return to Earth.

Once they undock, Expedition 25 will begin its increment with Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin continuing their stay on the station. Skvortsov will ceremonially hand command of the station over to Wheelock around 5 p.m.Wednesday.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka will join Expedition 25 as flight engineers when they dock in the new Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft in October.

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