The crew of the third Russian visiting mission to the International
Space Station (ISS) – a Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko
(the Soyuz spacecraft commander, instructor, test cosmonaut
of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center), an Italian citizen
Roberto Vittori (flight engineer, ESA astronaut), and a
citizen of the Republic of South Africa Mark Shuttleworth
(space flight participant) – has returned to Earth in the
descent vehicle of the Soyuz TM-33 spacecraft after completing
a 10-day mission program.

The spacecraft undocked from the Russian Pirs module at
04:31:08 Moscow Daylight-Saving Time on the control commands
from the Mission Control Center near Moscow (MCC-M). The
vehicle descended using its nominal descent profile in the
automatic mode.

The descent vehicle landed in its targeted landing area
located 26 km south-east of Arkalyk (Kazakhstan). The landing
time was 07:52.

The tasks of the mission have been successfully completed:
transportation spacecraft Soyuz TM-33, which stayed docked
with ISS since October 23, 2002 as a crew rescue vehicle,
has been replaced with Soyuz TM-34 spacecraft; the full
scope of scientific research and experiments under the visiting
mission program has been completed.

The visiting crew 3, together with the ISS fourth expedition
crew (ISS-4), conducted 96 sessions that covered all the
planned experiments in all the areas of space research under
Russian, Italian, and South African programs (medical science,
biology, technology, engineering, Earth remote sensing,

The subjects of study included processes in plasma-dust
crystals and liquids under microgravity, metabolism in human
body during adaptation to space flight environment, effect
of zero gravity on the cosmonauts’ cardiovascular system
and their capacity for work. An assessment was done of the
esthetic, hygienic and thermal qualities of the experimental
clothes developed for ISS crews. Experiments have been carried
out to obtain high-quality monocrystals of soluble proteins
in micro gravity for the purpose of creating a new generation
of drugs, among many other things.

In the course of the mission, there were telecasts showing
the third visiting crew arrival to ISS and their parting
with the ISS-4 crew prior to their return to Earth. The
life of the crews on-board the station and their activities
with symbolic objects were filmed on video and camera; there
were also TV communications sessions for representatives
of European and Italian space agencies, as well as for the
mass media; ham radio communications sessions with South-African

The ISS space station continues its flight in a low-Earth
orbit with inclination of 51.65°, with the maximum and minimum
altitudes of 411.8 and 385.7 km, respectively, and orbital
period of 92.3 minutes.

The ISS currently consists of the Functional Cargo Module
Zarya, Service Module Zvezda, docking compartment Pirs,
spacecraft Soyuz TM-34 and Progress M1-8, as well as US
modules Unity, Destiny and airlock Quest. The overall mass
of the space station is about 149.4 tons.

The on-board systems of the Soyuz TM-34 transportation spacecraft
and space station modules operate within design limits.

The expedition crew ISS-4 – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Onufrienko
(Commander) and US astronauts Carl Walz and Daniel Bursch
(flight engineers) – continue to work in orbit according
to the mission plan. This crew is to be rotated during a
Shuttle mission slated for launch in May 2002.

During return to Earth of the Soyuz TM-33, its mission was
controlled by the Lead Operations Control Team (LOCT) at
MCC-M near Moscow (Korolev), which works in cooperation
with the specialists of the US Mission Control (Houston).
LOCT includes RSC Energia managers and leading experts,
specialists from other companies and organizations. The
Flight Director is cosmonaut V.A.Soloviev.

Present at MCC-M during de-orbit maneuvers and descent of
Soyuz TM-33 were the Technical Director of the Russian manned
space programs, S.P.Korolev RSC Energia Designer General,
member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yu.P.Semenov,
representatives from Rosaviacosmos and space agencies from
abroad, leading experts from RSC Energia, Russian companies
and organizations participating in the ISS program.

The progress of the operations to return the crew to Earth
was observed from the main control room of MCC-M by representatives
of Italian and South African embassies to Russia, family
members, relatives and friends of Roberto Vittori and Mark

In the afternoon of that day, the third visiting crew returned
to the Star City for the post-flight checkup and rest at
the preventorium of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
At the Chkalovsky airport near Moscow Yuri Gidzenko, Roberto
Vittori, and Mark Shuttleworth had been warmly greeted by
the Technical Director of the Russian manned space programs,
S.P.Korolev RSC Energia Designer General, member of the
Russian Academy of Sciences Yu.P.Semenov, the Head of the
Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center colonel-general P.I.Klimuk,
Director of the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems
A.I.Grigoriev, representatives of foreign space agencies,
families, relatives and friends of the cosmonauts.