Expedition 45 Heading Home After Undocking from Station

Expedition 45 Crew Members
The Expedition 45 crew members are seen in their Sokol landing and entry spacesuits in front of the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft during a training session in July 2015.

The Soyuz TMA-17M carrying Expedition 45 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) undocked from the station at 4:49 a.m. EST.

Kononenko is the commander at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft. They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 41-second deorbit burn at 7:19 a.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 8:12 a.m. northeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-17M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 7 a.m.

The departure marks the end of Expedition 45. Having completed his third mission, Kononenko now has spent 533 days in space. Lindgren and Yui spent 141 days on their first flight.

The Expedition 46 crew members remaining aboard to continue research and maintenance are Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov. The three-person crew will operate the station for four days until the arrival of three new crew members. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Dec. 15.

Here is the timeline for Expedition 45’s landing:

EST                             EVENT

7:00 a.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 45 Soyuz TMA-17M deorbit burn and landing coverage
7:19 a.m.                   Soyuz TMA-17M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)
7:46 a.m.                   Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
7:49 a.m.                   Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
7:57 a.m.                   Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)
8:12 a.m.                   Expedition 45 Soyuz TMA-17M landing northeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

For live updates, follow @space_station on Twitter.

Dec. 11, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 11, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

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