Station Crew Swaps Command, Trio Ready for Earth Return

The six station crewmembers join each other for a group hug
Clockwise from bottom left are station crewmembers Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka.

NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to depart the International Space Station Thursday evening in their Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft and return to Earth.

Today the Expedition 62 crew conducted a change of command ceremony in which Skripochka ceremonially handed command of the orbiting laboratory to newly arrived NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. Expedition 63, a three-person crew of Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, begins when the Soyuz departs the station Thursday.

NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EDT April 16 as the departing crew members say farewell and close the hatches between their Soyuz and the spacecraft at about 6:30 p.m.

NASA coverage will resume at 9:30 p.m. prior to the trio undocking the Soyuz from the aft port of the station’s Zvezda service module at 9:53 p.m. At midnight, NASA TV will return to provide coverage during the deorbit burn at 12:22 a.m. Friday, April 17, that will put the Soyuz on course for a parachute-assisted landing at 1:16 a.m. (11:16 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.

Follow along with landing activities and get more information about the mission at:

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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