Three crew members of International Space Station Expedition 38 are set to depart the station after 166 days in orbit. NASA will provide a live stream of the ISS departure beginning at 4:30 p.m. EDT when the crew members say farewell and the hatch of Soyuz spacecraft closes. The undocking coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT, and the undocking is scheduled to start at 8:02 p.m. EDT.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, who served as Expedition 38 commander, and Sergey Ryazanskiy launched to the ISS on Sept. 26, 2013, and will complete their near-six month mission with the March 10 departure. The trip back to last will only a few hours and the three astronauts are expected to land at 11:24 p.m. EDT. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the three astronauts will land just southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
Over the weekend, the three astronauts wrapped up science experiments and performed scheduled drills and reviews of Soyuz equipment and procedures ahead of Monday's departure. The remaining ISS crew members, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, astronaut Koichi Wakata, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin reviewed responsibilities in case of an emergency after the three crew members depart the ISS.
Kotov took part in the change of command ceremony on Sunday and handed over control of the ISS to Wakata, who will serve as the Expedition 39 commander. Wakata is the first Japanese to serve as ISS commander.
The ISS will be quite spacious until March 25 when the remaining Expedition 39 crew members, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Atemyev, launch to the ISS. Prior to the crew launch, the ISS will get a fresh supply of cargo on March 16. The SpaceX cargo resupply mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:41 a.m. EDT.
The ISS departure live stream, courtesy of NASA, can be viewed below.