Three of the occupants aboard the International Space Station will soon return home to Earth. NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are scheduled to land in a Soyuz capsule around 8:12AM ET Friday morning.
The day they leave the station will mark the end of a 141-day stay on the ISS. During that time, they've done some pretty cool stuff. Lindgren and Yui got to feast on the first-ever lettuce grown in space. Kononenko also posed for a picture with all the Nikon DSLR gear aboard the station, easily worth tens of thousands of dollars.
They're scheduled to land around 8:12AM ET Friday morning
NASA's televised coverage of the crew's departure will begin at 1AM ET Friday. First the three will say goodbye to their crew mates, before they get into the Soyuz capsule and close the hatch. Around 4:49AM ET, the Soyuz will undock from the ISS. It will remain in space for a while and then ignite its engine at 7:19AM ET to take it out of orbit. The Soyuz will then detach from its orbital module before it re-enters Earth's atmosphere.
The departing crew members will make way for the next batch of astronauts to arrive next week. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency will launch to the ISS in a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan on December 15th. Peake is the first British astronaut to go into space in 20 years, so he's received a lot of well wishes, including a shot out from the lead singer of Train.