Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Prepare for Return to Earth

Expedition 52 Crew Members
Expedition 52 crew members (from left) Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson prepare the Sokol launch and entry suits they will wear when they undock and land in their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft.

Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates, Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth Saturday, Sept. 2. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide complete coverage of their departure and landing.

The trio will undock their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the space station at 5:58 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 p.m. (7:22 a.m. Sept. 3, Kazakhstan time). NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik has taken over command of the station from Yurchikhin.

The complete schedule of return coverage is as follows (all times EDT):

  • 2:15 p.m. – farewell and hatch closure (hatch closure at 2:40 p.m.)
  • 5:30 p.m. – undocking (undocking at 5:58 p.m.)
  • 8 p.m. – deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn at 8:29 p.m. and landing at 9:22 p.m.)
  • 11 p.m. – replay of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crew members, at: www.nasa.gov/station

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As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, NASA plans a modified return to Houston of Whitson and Fischer and the science samples landing in the Soyuz spacecraft. The crew will participate in standard post-flight medical evaluations. Working with our International Space Station partners, NASA secured the services of ESA (European Space Agency) to return the crew from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, to Cologne, Germany.  NASA’s G-5 will depart Houston on Saturday to meet the crew and science samples in Cologne. They’re expected to return to Houston on Sunday night.  All necessary facilities onsite at NASA’s Johnson Space Center necessary to support crew and science objectives are being checked out, and readied for the return to Houston.

While living and working aboard the space station, the Expedition 52 crew pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.

Expedition 53 will begin when Whitson, Fischer and Yurchikhin depart with Randy Bresnik of NASA in command, and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), on board. The three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members later this month.

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch Sept. 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.


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