Three International Space Station Expedition 39 crew members will return to Earth on Tuesday following six months aboard the space station. The ISS departure live stream begins at 3 p.m. EDT with the hatch closure while the Soyuz capsule will undock from the ISS at 6:36 p.m. EDT.
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, have completed their 188 day mission aboard the ISS. On Monday, Wakata gave control of the ISS to NASA stronaut Steve Swanson as part of the Change of Command ceremony. Swanson will serve as the Expedition 40 Commander.
Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin arrived at the ISS on Nov. 7, 2013 and the space station was host to nine crew members, the first time that has happened since 2009. Wakata participated in several spacewalks, serving as a robotics controller and operating the ISS' robotic arm, Canadarm2, while Mastracchio participated in three spacewalks, the first to remove a faulty ammonia pump and, most recently, to replace the faulty backup multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM) computer. Tyurin served as the commander of the Russian side of the ISS.
The ISS Expedition 39 crew members spent their remaining time aboard the ISS completing science experiments and routine maintenance, reports NASA. Wakata worked on the "A Simple In-flight Method to Test the Risk of Fainting on Return to Earth After Long-Duration Space Flights (BP Reg)" experiment. As NASA notes, the experiment's results could be applied to the elderly and general population as dizziness and fainting can lead to an increased risk of injury. Mastracchio and Swanson worked on fixing one of the spacesuits, replacing a fan pump separator while Tyurin completed the "Lower Body Negative Pressure Training" exercise in preparation of Tuesday's launch.
According to NASA, the ISS departure live stream coverage begins at 3 p.m. EDT as the trio say their farewells and close the hatch of the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft. The Soyuz capsule will undock at 6:33 p.m. EDT, the live stream begins at 6:15 p.m. EDT, and the crew will perform a deorbit burn followed by the landing at Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan at 9:57 p.m. EDT. The deborbit burn and landing coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. EDT.
NASA astronaut Reid Weisman, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and cosmonaut Maxim Suarev will serve as Expedition 40/41 crew members and will launch to the ISS on May 28.
You can view the ISS departure live stream below.