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The International Space Station's Expedition 9 and 10 crews hold their change-of-command ceremony. (3min 51sec file)
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Expedition 9 review
This narrated movie provides a look back at the six-month Expedition 9 mission aboard the International Space Station with commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Michael Fincke. (8min 24sec file)
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Public Service Announcements
The space station's new commander, Leroy Chiao, urges Americans to vote in these Public Service Announcements recorded inside the Destiny Laboratory module. (2min 30sec file)
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Crew news conference
The five crew members aboard the International Space Station answer questions during this in-flight news conference from Wednesday, Oct. 20. (29min 26sec file)
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San Fran. interview
Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao and Expedition 9 flight engineer Michael Fincke answer questions from a reporter with KPIX television in San Francisco. (8min 52sec file)
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CBS Radio interview
CBS Radio's Peter King and Bill Harwood chat with space station astronauts Leroy Chiao and Michael Fincke during the handover activities between Expedition crews. (11min 06sec file)
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Soyuz docking
The Russian Soyuz TMA-5 capsule successfully docks to the International Space Station, delivering the Expedition 10 crew for its half-year mission. (3min 21sec file)
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Docking in full
This longer-length broadband clip follows the Soyuz TMA-5 capsule's approach and docking to the station's Pirs module. (8min 47sec file)
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Post-docking news conference
Russian and U.S. space officials hold a post-docking press conference from the mission control center outside Moscow. (23min 04sec file)
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Launch of Expedition 10
The Russian Soyuz rocket blasts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the Expedition 10 crew International Space Station for a six-month mission. (2min 25sec file)
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Launch in full
This longer-length broadband clip follows the launch of Expedition 10 from the final minute of the countdown through deployment of the Soyuz capsule from the third stage. (10min 15sec file)
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The crew members participate in pre-launch traditions before departing their quarters and head for the suitup facility. (2min 01sec file)
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Suit checks
After donning their launch and entry spacesuits, each crew member's suit undergoes pressure, communications and other checks. (4min 07sec file)
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VIP chat
A delegation of Russian and American officials talk with the crew before departing for the launch pad. (3min 08sec file)
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Heading to the pad
The three space fliers depart the suitup facility and board the bus that will drive them to the launch pad. (1min 52sec file)
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Crew at the launch pad
Crowds welcome the three-man Soyuz crew upon arrival at the launch pad for boarding the spacecraft. (1min 19sec file)
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Mission overview
A brief preview of the Expedition 10 mission aboard the International Space Station is provided in this narrated video. (5min 03sec file)
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Expedition 10 crew
This narrated biography offers an interest glimpse at the backgrounds of Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao and flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov. (4min 43sec file)
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Expedition 9 crew heading home after 6-month mission
Posted: October 22, 2004; Updated with quotes from handover ceremony

There was a ceremonial changing of the guard aboard the International Space Station today as the departing Expedition 9 crew members handed control to their replacements in advance of Saturday's return to Earth.

After six months circling the planet aboard the station, Expedition 9 commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Michael Fincke are homeward bound to complete their long-duration voyage.

The two men and visiting cosmonaut researcher Yuri Shargin will strap inside the Soyuz TMA-4 capsule Saturday afternoon and depart the outpost, setting the stage for a three-and-a-half-hour trek to landing in Kazakhstan.

The station is being left to Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao and flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov for another half-year mission. They launched to the station last week on Soyuz TMA-5 along with Shargin.

"We are leaving you a space station that is even more capable than we received it. Please care well for this spacecraft," Padalka said during the handover ceremony around 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT).

"We accept responsibility and command of this fine space station," Chiao replied. "We will carry on the work of the partnership and pledge to carry on the legacy of human spaceflight."

The five men exchanged handshakes, hugs and rang the station's bell.

Expedition 9 will be the fourth consecutive station resident crew to return in Soyuz spacecraft after the Columbia accident grounded the shuttle fleet.

"Our Soyuz has been a really trusty ship and it's definitely ready to go," Fincke said earlier this week.

Preparations for the homecoming begin as Padalka, Fincke and Shargin enter the Soyuz craft currently docked to the station's Zarya module. It is the same ship Expedition 9 launched aboard in April. Hatches between the capsule and station are scheduled for closure at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) Saturday.

Fincke will be seated in the Soyuz craft's left seat as flight engineer, Padalka will be in the center commander's seat and Shargin will occupy the right seat. They will work together to active the craft's systems and ready for undocking.

The command to begin opening hooks and latches firmly holding Soyuz to its Earth-facing docking port will be sent at 5:05 p.m. EDT (2105 GMT). Physical separation between the two craft occurs three minutes later as the capsule backs away at just one-tenth of a meter per second.

After moving about 20 meters from the station, the Soyuz engines will fire for eight seconds at 5:11 p.m. EDT (2111 GMT) to execute the so-called separation burn to propel the craft a substantial distance from the complex.

About two-and-a-half hours later, Soyuz will be 19 kilometers from the station. The capsule's engines will ignite for the four-minute, 20-second deorbit burn to brake from space. The onboard computers will initiate an engine firing at 7:42:37 p.m. EDT (2342:37 GMT) that slows the ship by 115.2 meters/sec, just enough to slip out of orbit for the return to Earth.

Just before reaching the top of the atmosphere, the Soyuz's three distinct modules will separate at 8:08:35 p.m. EDT (0008:35 GMT) under computer command. The crew will be located in the Descent Module, which is sandwiched between the forward Orbital Module containing the docking mechanism and the rear Instrumentation and Propulsion Module housing the engines and avionics.

The Descent Module orients itself to point the ablative heat shield in the direction of travel to protect the craft and crew from the intense plunge back to Earth. At 8:11:39 p.m. EDT (0011:39 GMT), the moment of Entry Interface occurs as the capsule hits the upper fringes of the atmosphere for the fiery re-entry.

During the fall homeward, the Orbital Module and Instrumentation and Propulsion Module will burn up in the atmosphere.

Six minutes after Entry Interface, the crew will experience the period of maximum G-loads during entry as they feel the tug of Earth's gravity for the first time since launch.

At 8:20:38 p.m. EDT (0020:38 GMT), the onboard computers will start a commanded sequence for deployment of the capsule's parachutes at an altitude of about 10 kilometers. Two "pilot" parachutes are unfurled first, extracting a 24-square-meter drogue parachute. Within 16 seconds, the craft's fall will slow from 230 meters per second to about 80 m/s.

The parachute deployment creates a gentle spin for the Soyuz as it dangles underneath the drogue chute, assisting in the capsule's stability in the final minutes before touchdown.

The drogue chute will be jettisoned, allowing the main parachute to be deployed. It is connected to the Descent Module by two harnesses, covers an area of about 1,000 square meters and slows descent to 7.2 meters/second.

Initially, the Descent Module will hang underneath the main parachute at a 30-degree angle with respect to the horizon for aerodynamic stability, but the bottommost harness will be severed a few minutes before landing, allowing the Descent Module to hang vertically through touchdown.

At an altitude of just over 5 kilometers, the heat shield will be cast free. That is followed by dumping of any residual propellant from the Soyuz.

Once the heat shield is gone, the Soyuz altimeter is exposed to the surface of the Earth. Using a reflector system, signals are bounced to the ground from the Soyuz and reflected back, providing the capsule's computers updated information on altitude and rate of descent.

At an altitude of about 12 meters, cockpit displays will tell Padalka to prepare for the soft landing engine firing. Just one meter above the surface, and just seconds before touchdown, the six solid propellant engines are fired in a final braking maneuver, enabling the Soyuz to land to complete its mission, settling down at a velocity of about 1.5 meters per second.

Touchdown is expected at 8:35:38 p.m. EDT (0035:38 GMT) on the steppes of north-central Kazakhstan, about 97 minutes before sunrise at the landing site. Expedition 9 concludes with a duration of 187 days, 21 hours and 16 minutes.

A group of Russian military helicopters carrying the recovery forces, including a U.S. flight surgeon and astronaut support personnel, should arrive soon after landing to help the crew exit the capsule.

Each crew member will be placed in special reclining chairs near the capsule for initial medical tests and begin readapting to Earth's gravity. They will be transferred into a portable medical tent erected near the touchdown point where the three men can remove their spacesuits.

Post-landing plans call for the crew to be flown from the site in helicopters within two hours of landing. They will be taken to the city of Kustanai for an initial welcoming ceremony. Then a Russian military transport plane will fly the crew to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, where their families will meet them.

The crew undergoes more than two weeks of medical tests and physical rehabilitation before Padalka and Fincke can return to the U.S. for additional debriefings and follow-up exams.

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