ISS crew gets ready to return to Earth

The ISS Expedition 7 Crew - Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and US astronaut Edward Loo - are "packing" and transferring things to a Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft, which will bring them to earth. The current crew's mission in orbit expires in the early hours of Tuesday, Viktor Blagov, second in charge of space flights at the Russian Mission Control, near Moscow, has told RIA Novosti.

"Although there are a little less than 11 hours left before the hatches will be sealed, the crewmen have a lot of things to do - pack the results of their research work and the equipment to be returned to earth. This will take a lot of time and effort," said Mr Blagov.

The new crew, Aleksander Kaleri of Russia and American Michael Foale, and Pedro Duque, a member of the 5th visiting crew, are helping the outgoing astronauts transfer things to the lander. Pedro Duque worked at the Station for a week and is returning to earth on October 28 along with the other two crewmen.

The Soyuz is expected to hold a telecommunications session before landing. The hatches will be sealed at 23.10 Moscow time on Monday. The undocking will take place at about 02.20 Moscow time on Tuesday, the landing is planned in Kazakhstan at 05.40 Moscow time.

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