Three International Space Station crew members are preparing to return to Earth early Friday after 141 days in space. Expedition 45 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will land in their Soyuz spacecraft at 8:12 a.m. EST, northeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
NASA Television coverage begins at 1 a.m. Friday as they bid the station farewell, enter the Soyuz, and close the hatches. So far, the crew’s return is on track, and the space station is in good shape.
Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, along with crewmates Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, will operate the station for four days until the arrival of three new crew members.
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Dec. 15 and arrive at the station about 6 hours later.
Kelly and Kornienko are on the first joint U.S.-Russian one-year mission, an important stepping stone on NASA’s journey to Mars.
NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at:
Here is a timeline of the Expedition 45 undocking and landing.
1:00 a.m. NASA TV: Expedition 45 farewell & hatch closure coverage
1:25 a.m. Soyuz TMA-17M/space station hatch closure
4:30 a.m. NASA TV: Expedition 45 Soyuz TMA-17M undocking coverage
4:48 a.m. Soyuz undock command sent
4:49 a.m. Soyuz TMA-17M undocks from space station
4:52 a.m. Soyuz manual separation burn
7:00 a.m. NASA TV: Expedition 45 Soyuz TMA-17M deorbit burn and landing coverage
7:19 a.m. Soyuz TMA-17M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)
7:46 a.m. Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
7:49 a.m. Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
7:57 a.m. Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)
8:12 a.m. Expedition 45 Soyuz TMA-17M landing northeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan
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