Soyuz MS-02 safely returned to Earth with flight engineer Shane Kimbrough (NASA), commander Sergey Ryzhikov (NASA) and flight engineer Andrey Borisenko (Roscosmos) today.
In this way Soyuz MS-02 finished its lasting 173 days mission, which started on 19 October 2016, when spacecraft was launched from Baikonur 31/6 launch site and docked two days later to Poisk ISS module docking port.
Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko took their places inside Soyuz a 04:40 UTC. After ordinary procedures, leak test and initializing the spacecraft, MS-02 with three crew members undocked at 07:57 UTC and after reaching safe distance from ISS started its engines for 278 seconds to set deorbit course. 131st flight of Soyuz spacecraft entered into last phase, when at around 08:23 UTC vehicle entered into atmosphere. Capsule separated from upper orbital module, which as usual burned later into atmosphere. After passing through dense layers of the upper atmosphere, Soyuz deployed parachute and begun reducing speed before touchdown on altitude of 10000 m. Shortly before landing capsule initialized solid rocket motors to reduce speed and shock absorbing mechanisms built into seats were also started. MS-02 finally touched Earth at 11:21 UTC near Dzheskazgan town.
Rescue teams reached landing zone within minutes and helped all three crew members to leave capsule. All three were in good condition and soon after first medical tests were flown by helicopter to nearby Karaganda. Two Roscosmos cosmonauts: Ryzhikov and Borisenko will be moved to Star City near Moscow; their NASA colleague, Shane Kimbrough will fly to Johnson Space Center in Houston with special NASA plane.