Day 10: Tuesday 30 October
During the daily planning conference, Alain Labarthe, Head of the Andromède project at CNES, relayed a message of thanks and best wishes for the return flight to Claudie on behalf of the French team at TsUP and CADMOS, as well as the mission scientists.
Claudie's colleague in the European Astronaut Corps, Reinhold Ewald, who has been based at TsUP throughout, was full of praise for the way in which Claudie conducted the mission, "On behalf of EAC and the European Astronauts, I could add that Claudie's performance as flight engineer of the Soyuz spacecraft and her role as scientist on board the Space Station, has set milestones for future undertakings". He continued, "Her exemplary status as a European woman astronaut will encourage young women to choose a career in science, and perhaps also in spaceflight. In this she has truly represented the ideals laid down in the European Astronaut Charter".
In wrapping up her experimental work yesterday, the run of CardioScience had to be cut short due to low battery power. The complete data set for the Plasma Kristall Experiment was saved, ready to be made available for analysis by the scientists back on Earth.
The ESA funded Granada Crystallisation Facility, in which protein crystals have been growing since the arrival of the mission, will also return to Earth with Claudie. Among the last passengers to be placed in the Soyuz craft will be the frog and the salamander larvae in the Aquarius containers.
Everything is prepared for a safe and smooth landing tomorrow shortly before 08:00 Moscow time (06:00 CET, 05:00 GMT), about 180 km southeast of the town Dsheskasgan in Northern Kazakhstan. Claudie reported that she paid special attention to today's orbits over the Mediterranean, her home country France, and Europe, memorising these captivating scenes.
The sequence of events will be as follows:
Closing of the hatches 30 October, 23:30 CET (22:30 GMT)
Undocking 31 October, 02:36 CET (01:36 GMT)
Landing 31 October, 05:59:26 CET (04:59:26 GMT) - for the first orbital opportunity
07:35 CET (06:35 GMT) - for the second orbital opportunity - 99 km from Arkalik
09:11 CET (08:11 GMT) - for the third orbital opportunity - 45 km from Arkalik