Three cosmonauts living aboard the International Space Station are set to return to Earth Thursday, Sept. 29.
Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos will be at the controls of the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft flanked by fellow cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov for their undocking from the stations Prichal module at 3:34 a.m. EDT on Sept. 29. The trio will head for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan more than four hours later at 6:57 a.m. EDT (4:57 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
Wednesday, Sept. 28
- 9:35 a.m. Change of Command Ceremony (Artemyev hands over station command to ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti
Thursday, Sept. 29
- 3:15 a.m. Soyuz undocking coverage begins
- 5:45 a.m. Deorbit burn and landing coverage begins
The three cosmonauts launched to the station on March 18, and are completing a mission of 185 days and 2,960 orbits of the Earth spanning 77 million miles.
When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 68 will formally begin aboard the station under the command of Cristoforetti. Joining her are NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Frank Rubio as well as cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.
During Expedition 68, the arrival of NASAs SpaceX Crew-5aboard Dragon Endurance will bring four more crew members to the space station. That crew currently is scheduled for launch Monday, Oct. 3, for a short handover period with Crew-4 astronauts prior to their return to Earth shortly after.