- Three International Space Station crew members are scheduled to return to Earth on Tuesday, Sept. 6. NASA Television will provide coverage of their departure from the orbital outpost and return home, beginning at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Soyuz Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will undock their Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft from the space station at 5:51 p.m. and land in Kazakhstan at 9:14 p.m. (7:14 a.m. Kazakhstan time Sept. 7.)
Together, the Expedition 48 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.
Their return will wrap up 172 days in space for the crew since their launch in March 2016. Williams will return to Earth having accrued 534 days in space on his four missions dating back to 2000, the most days by any U.S. astronaut in history.
NASA TV will air coverage of the departure and landing activities at the following dates and times:
Tuesday, Sept. 6
- 9 a.m. – Replay of the traditional change of command ceremony in which Williams hands over station command to Anatoly Ivanishin (recorded on Sept. 5.)
- 2:15 p.m. – Farewell and hatch closure coverage (hatch closure scheduled at 2:30 p.m.).
- 5:30 p.m. – Undocking coverage (undocking scheduled at 5:51 p.m.).
- 8 p.m. – Deorbit burn and landing coverage (deorbit burn scheduled at 8:21 p.m., with landing at 9:14 p.m.)
Wednesday, Sept. 7
- 12 a.m. – Video File of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities.
- 12 p.m. – Video File of landing and post-landing activities and post-landing interview with Williams in Kazakhstan.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 49 will begin aboard the station under the command of Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos. Along with his crewmates Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the three-person crew will operate the station for more than two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.
Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch Sept. 23, U.S. time, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.