Watch Live: NASA Astronauts Return to Earth from International Space Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three crew members from the 56th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) is currently heading back to Earth, with a landing scheduled for 7:45 a.m. EDT.

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, along with Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, successfully undocked from the ISS Poisk module earlier this morning.

At around 6.45 a.m. they completed a controlled burn of the Soyuz thrusters that took the spacecraft out of orbit to begin its more than 200 mile descent.

At the end of re-entry—during which the astronauts will experience forces four to five times the strength of Earth's gravity—the Soyuz will make a parachute-assisted landing on the Kazakh Steppe, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.

The return of the astronauts is being live-streamed on NASA Television and the space agency’s website.

The Expedition 56 crew is completing a 197-day mission which involved 3,152 orbits of Earth–equivalent to a journey of 83.4 million miles. During their time on the station, they carried out a range of science experiments and conducted tests to expand navigation capabilities in preparation for future deep-space exploration. The astronauts also competed a number of space walks.

Once the crew have landed, they will be taken by helicopter to the city of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, where they'll begin their journey home. Feustel and Arnold will fly back to Houston aboard a NASA plane, while Artemyev will return to Star City in Russia.

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick