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NASA TV Coverage Set for Return of Two Space Station Crew Members

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy celebrate Pesquet's birthday
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy celebrate Pesquet’s birthday aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA

Two crew members on the International Space Station are scheduled to depart the orbital outpost Friday, June 2. Coverage of their departure and return to Earth will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning Thursday, June 1, with the space station change of command ceremony.

Expedition 51 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will undock their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft from the space station at 6:50 a.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 10:10 a.m. (8:20 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Together, the Expedition 51 crew members pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory. Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.

NASA TV will air coverage of the departure and landing activities at the following dates and times:

Thursday, June 1

  • 11:50 a.m. — Change of command ceremony with NASA’s Peggy Whitson handing over station command to Roscosmos’ Fyodor Yurchikhin

Friday, June 2

  • 3 a.m. — Farewell and hatch closure (hatch closure at 3:35 a.m.)
  • 6:30 a.m. — Undocking (undocking scheduled at 6:50 a.m.)
  • 8:45 a.m. — Deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn at 9:17 a.m., landing at 10:10 a.m.)
  • 1 p.m. — Video File of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities

Monday, June 5

  • 12 p.m. — Video File of landing and post-landing activities

At the time of undocking, Expedition 52 will begin aboard the station under the command of Fyodor Yurchikhin. Along with his crewmates Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of ESA are scheduled to launch July 28 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

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Tabatha Thompson
Headquarters, Washington
Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston