Monday, November 21, 2011

Snowy conditions anticipated at Soyuz landing site

All good things must come to an end, and as such the mission of the last space station crew of the shuttle era is winding down and preparations for reentry began earlier today for Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, U.S. astronaut Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The three men launched on June 8 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket and were on orbit when the I.S.S. hosted the final visit of the space shuttle.
NASA plans live reentry coverage on NASA TV as the Soyuz undocks around 6:00 p.m. EST, heading back to earth for wintery reception on the frigid steppes of Kazakhstan, where more than 18 inches of snow blankets the recovery area. The de-orbit burn is scheduled for 8:32 p.m., with a landing time of 9:25 p.m. EST, about 30 minutes before  local sunrise.
Florida Today reported temperatures at the landing site are in the teens, with windy conditions and blowing snow:
The weather at the landing site, located about 35 miles northeast of the Arkalyk, has been "fairly severe," NASA mission commentator Rob Navias said this afternoon. A half-foot of fresh snow piled on already existing drifts over the past 24 hours. Temperatures at landing time are expected to be in the teens and winds will be blowing snow at 15 mph.
Fossum, Volkov and Furukawa launched June 8 and were aboard the station for the final space shuttle mission -- a supply run to the outpost in July. Fossum turned over command of the station to U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank on Sunday. Burbank and two Russian cosmonauts -- Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov -- arrived at the outpost last Wednesday.

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