The International Space Station (ISS) is currently experiencing a very busy period for crew rotation.
Having recently welcomed one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts who arrived on a Soyuz spacecraft, the orbital facility is now preparing to bid farewell to three cosmonauts.
After that, SpaceX’s four-person Crew-5 team will arrive for a six-month stay. Poor weather conditions at the launch site in recent days has interrupted Crew-5’s preparations for launch, which had been set for Monday, October 3. NASA said on Sunday that it will reschedule the Crew-5 mission in the coming days.
Also, at some point in the next week or so, three NASA astronauts and another from the European Space Agency — who make up SpaceX’s Crew-4 team — will depart the ISS aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft after spending six months in space. A specific date has yet to be confirmed for Crew-4’s homecoming.
But first, as we mentioned at the top, Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, along with fellow cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, will climb aboard the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft for their ride back to Earth on Thursday, September 29.
NASA will broadcast a livestream of the spacecraft’s undocking from the station’s Prichal module and also show the early stages of the journey home as the capsule edges away from the ISS. It will also livestream the trio landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan about 1,350 miles southeast of Moscow.
The Soyuz spacecraft will depart the space station at 3:34 a.m. ET (12:34 a.m. PT/7:34 a.m. GMT) on Thursday, September 29.
The spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing will take place in Kazakhstan around four hours later at 6:57 a.m. ET (3:57 a.m. PT/7:57 a.m. GMT).
Coverage will begin at 3:15 a.m. ET (12:15 a.m. PT/7:15 a.m. GMT). You can watch it via the video player at the top of this page, or by visiting NASA’s YouTube channel. NASA personnel will also offer commentary, giving viewers a full understanding of all of the procedures taking place during the homecoming mission.
The departure and landing is early (or late!) for those in the U.S., but the stream will remain online and so can also be viewed after the event.
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