At 9:34 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 12:50 a.m.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 12:15 a.m.; their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 4:12 a.m.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the International Space Station’s Expedition 61 crew as they are preparing for their return to Earth.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are saying their farewells to NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos before their board their Soyuz spacecraft and close the hatches between them and the space station. Hatches are expected to close at about 9:25 p.m. EST for a series of leak checks before the Soyuz undocks and returns to Earth early Thursday morning.
Record-setting astronaut Christina Koch, along with Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing to depart the International Space Station just after midnight for their return to Earth early Thursday morning. Earlier today Expedition 61 Commander Parmitano passed control of the station to Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.
Tune in to NASA Television and the agency’s website tonight at 9 p.m. EST as Koch, Skvortsov, and Parmitano say farewell and board their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft in preparation for their undocking and return to Earth.
Koch was a crew member for Expeditions 59, 60 and 61, spending 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station.
During Koch’s 11-month mission, she participated in more than 210 investigations, helping advance NASA’s goals to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars. Koch participated in a number of studies to support those future exploration missions, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is packing up and cleaning her crew quarters today ahead of her return to Earth early Thursday. She will board the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship on Wednesday about 9:30 p.m. EST with crewmates Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency).
The trio will undock Thursday at 12:50 a.m. then parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m. (3:12 p.m. Kazakh time). NASA TV begins its live coverage Wednesday at 9 p.m. when the departing crew says farewell to their station counterparts and closes the Soyuz hatch.
This will cap a 328-day-long mission for Koch that began on March 14. She is now in second place for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut surpassed only by former astronaut Scott Kelly with 340 days during his final station mission.
Meir and Morgan are getting ready for another mission that begins Sunday when Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft lifts off at 5:39 p.m. It will rendezvous with the station Tuesday where the duo will be in the cupola to capture Cygnus at 3:30 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.
Ground controllers will then remotely command the Canadarm2 to install Cygnus to the Unity module where it will stay for 90 days. Cygnus will be delivering over 8,000 pounds of new research gear and crew supplies.
Koch will wrap up a 328-day mission aboard the orbiting lab on Thursday. Koch blasted off to join the station crew on March 14 with Expedition 59-60 crewmates Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin. Hague and Ovchinin have since returned home on Oct. 3.
When Koch lands, her mission-stay will be second only to former astronaut Scott Kelly. He lived aboard the station for 340 continuous days for the single longest spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut.
She and her two homebound crewmates prepared today for the flight back to Earth. The trio familiarized themselves with the return procedures and the gravity loads they will experience upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
Expedition 62 officially begins when Koch and her crewmates undock Thursday at 12:50 a.m. Morgan and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir will continue their stay in space with Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.
Meir and Morgan are getting ready for the next Cygnus space freighter and its cargo of several tons of science experiments and crew supplies. Cygnus will launch Sunday at 5:39 p.m. and rendezvous with the station two days later for a robotic capture at 4:30 a.m.