Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov undocked from the station at 8:02 p.m. EST to begin their voyage home. Volkov, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft.
They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 49-second deorbit burn at 10:32 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 11:25 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
All three crew will participate in Field Tests immediately after landing. Scott Kelly will conduct Functional Task Tests once he is back at NASA’s Johnson Space Center which will assess how the human body responds to living in microgravity for such a long time. Understanding how astronauts recover after long-duration spaceflight is a critical piece in planning for missions to deep space.
The Expedition 47 crew members, Commander Tim Kopra of NASA, Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos, and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) will continue research and maintenance aboard the station and will be joined March 18 by three additional crew members, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-18M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 10:15 p.m.
Here is the timeline for Expedition 46’s landing:
Tuesday, March 1
10:15 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 46 Soyuz TMA-18M deorbit burn and landing coverage
10:32 p.m. Soyuz TMA-18M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 49 seconds duration)
10:37 p.m. Soyuz deorbit burn complete
10:59 p.m. Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
11:02 p.m. Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
11:10 p.m. Command to open parachute (6.6 miles)
11:25 p.m. Expedition 46 Soyuz TMA-18M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan