After six months working on the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is returning to Earth tonight alongside her mission colleagues Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. NASA will have live coverage through the night of the crew’s departure from ISS and return to Kazakhstan.
Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and astronaut Kate Rubins launched in October for the ISS Expedition 64 mission. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov arrived at the space station earlier this month for ISS Expedition 65, raising the ISS population from seven to 10.
Four more astronauts will arrive at ISS as soon as Thursday, April 22, when SpaceX launches Crew-2 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida using their Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule. Crew-2 consists of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
The arrival of Crew-2 next week will bring the ISS population to 11 for a week before settling back at seven when Crew-1 astronauts return to Earth. That’s an impressive amount of transit between Earth and low Earth orbit within a few short weeks.
Here’s the schedule for NASA’s coverage tonight:
9:15 p.m. – ISS Expedition 64/Soyuz MS-17 Undocking Coverage (Rubins, Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov; undocking scheduled at 9:34 p.m. EDT)
11:30 p.m. – ISS Expedition 64/Soyuz MS-17 Deorbit Burn and Landing Coverage (Rubins, Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov); deorbit burn scheduled at 12:01 a.m.. EDT Apr. 17; landing near Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan scheduled at 12:56 a.m. EDT April 17)
Viewers can tune in on NASA TV or though the agency’s YouTube channel: