Caption: Unlike U.S. Space Shuttles, which land like an airplane, the Russian Soyuz capsules such as Tracy Caldwell Dyson will ride back to Earth, slow down with a combination of rocket burns and parachutes, then land on the Kazakhstan steppes. Photo courtesy NASA

Alumna Astronaut Coming Home

NASA Televises Tracy Caldwell Dyson's Return to Earth Sept. 23

Cal State Fullerton alumna Tracy Caldwell Dyson’s return to Earth from the International Space Station will be televised by NASA Television Sept. 23. Coverage of the departure from the Space Station begins at 2:05 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time the day before, when Expedition 24 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, one of the two Russian cosmonauts who flew up with Caldwell Dyson in April, formally hands over command of the station to NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock.

The farewells between Caldwell Dyson, Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, and astronauts Wheelock, Shannon Walker and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikin, will be on NASA's public online channel starting at 2:45 p.m., Sept. 23, as will the final hatch closure between the station and the Russian Soyuz return capsule.

Coverage will continue with the capsule undocking at 6:15 p.m. and an engine burn that slows the capsule enough to drop out of orbit at 9:03 p.m. The capsule is scheduled to land on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 9:55 p.m. Unlike the U.S. Space Shuttle, which lands on an airfield like an airplane, Soyuz capsules enter the atmosphere falling at a pre-planned angle, execute an engine burn to slow down, then deploy parachutes to land on the steppes. A video file feed of a post-landing interview with Caldwell Dyson and post-landing activities will air at noon Sept. 24.

NASA TV coverage of Caldwell Dyson’s, Skvortsov’s and Kornienko’s replacements, cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka and astronaut Scott Kelly, began Sept. 17 with a video file feed of their pre-flight preparations and a news conference at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City in Russia. Coverage will continue through the Oct. 7 launch and Oct. 9 docking with the station, the first hatch opening and the station crew’s welcoming ceremony.

For NASA TV video information and schedule, go to: or


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