Expedition 35 Commander Kevin Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko landed their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft in southern Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m. EDT Monday.
Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after 146 days in space.
The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in December and spent 144 days living and working aboard the International Space Station.
Romanenko was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 7:08 p.m. Monday from the Rassvet module.
The undocking marked the end of Expedition 35 and the start of Expedition 36 under the command of Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who is scheduled to remain on the station with Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin until September. Hadfield ceremonially handed command of the station over to Vinogradov on Sunday. Vinogradov, Cassidy and Misurkin arrived at the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft in March 2013.
Vinogradov, Cassidy and Misurkin will remain aboard the orbiting complex as a three-person crew until the May 28 launch and docking of Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Luca Parmitano.
Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko spent their final morning aboard the station Monday packing some final items for return to Earth aboard their Soyuz spacecraft. Marshburn removed a sample canister from a Japanese protein crystal growth experiment and handed it off to his Russian crewmates to stow inside the Soyuz.
With the successful completion of the Binary Colloid Alloy Test-6, or BCAT-6, Hadfield stowed the experiment hardware in the Zarya module. BCAT-6 took a look at how gasses and liquids come together and separate in space. Results from this experiment may lead to improvements in the shelf-life of household products, food and medicine.
Hadfield also assisted Cassidy with a periodic fitness evaluation as flight surgeons keep track of the crew’s health during these long-duration missions. Cassidy exercised on the station’s exercise bike — the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization – while Hadfield collected blood pressure measurements.
Cassidy also installed a new HD camera in the Destiny lab and upgraded a video encoder card in an associated computer.
Astronaut Shannon Walker, who served as an Expedition 24/25 flight engineer in 2010, talked about the preparations crew members make before leaving the station during a Space Station Live interview on Monday.
The spare Pump and Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) box installed Saturday by Cassidy and Marshburn during their 5-hour, 30-minute spacewalk continues to be checked out by flight controllers, but is showing no signs of ammonia leakage at this point and is functioning normally.