The entire six-member space station crew slept in and shifted their schedules to accommodate tonight’s homecoming activities. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will board their Soyuz MS-16 crew ship and undock from the Poisk module at 7:32 p.m. EDT, soar through Earth’s atmosphere and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:55 p.m. (Oct. 22, 7:55 a.m. Baikonur time).
All the activities will be broadcast live on NASA TV. Coverage of crew farewells and hatch closing will begin at 3:30 p.m. Undocking coverage will begin at 7 p.m., and Soyuz deorbit burn and landing coverage at 9:30 p.m.
The trio is wrapping up final cargo loading today as they pack station hardware, research samples and personal items inside the Soyuz. After landing, the crew will have logged 196 days in space and circled Earth over 3,100 times for a total of just over 83 million miles.
Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos will assume command of the orbiting lab at the moment the departing crewmates undock tonight. He will be leading Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov during their planned 185-day space research mission.