The six Expedition 46 crew members gather one last time before saying farewell and closing the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station. From left are, Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra, Mikhail Kornienko, Sergey Volkov, Scott Kelly and Tim Peake. Credit: NASA TV
Today is homecoming day for International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos as they prepare for landing in their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft at 11:25 p.m. EST tonight, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
At this time, there are no concerns or issues being worked, and hatch closure is scheduled to occur at 4:40 p.m.
Kelly handed over command of the orbiting complex to NASA astronaut Tim Kopra in a ceremony on Monday, Feb. 29. When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 47 formally will begin.
The landing of Expedition 46 marks the end of a year in space for Kelly and Kornienko. This is the first time that extensive research using exciting new techniques like genetic studies has been conducted on very long-duration crew members. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is the first American to complete a continuous, year-long mission in space and is now the American who has spent the most cumulative time in space.
NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at https://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
Here is a timeline of the Expedition 46 undocking and landing.
Tuesday, March 1
4:15 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 46 farewell & hatch closure coverage
4:40 p.m. Soyuz TMA-18M/space station hatch closure
7:45 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 46 Soyuz TMA-18M undocking coverage
8:01 p.m. Soyuz undock command sent
8:02 p.m. Soyuz TMA-18M undocks from space station
8:05 p.m. Soyuz manual separation burn
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
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Astronaut Scott Kelly photographed the Soyuz spacecraft he is riding home.