A Japanese billionaire and two colleagues will return to Earth from the International Space Station on Sunday (December 19) and will be able to see everything live.
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Yusaku Maezawa, along with spaceflight participant (and video producer) Yozo Hirano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, is scheduled to land in the steppes of Kazakhstan on Sunday at 10:18 a.m. pm EST (0318 GMT on December 20). .
You can view the departure procedure from the International Station Station (ISS), which will begin with the closing of the hatches between the Soyuz and the station at around 3:30 pm EST (1830 GMT), in the window below and on the Space.com home page, courtesy of NASA, or directly through the space agency. These are the milestones to consider:
Photos: The first space tourists
- 3 pm EST / 2000 GMT: NASA television coverage begins for the hatch closure at 3:32 pm EST (2032 GMT)
- 6:30 pm EST / 2300 GMT – NASA television coverage begins to uncouple at 6:54 pm EST (2354 GMT)
- 9 pm EST / 0200 GMT December 20: NASA television coverage begins for departure from orbit and landing. Landing is scheduled for 10:18 pm EST / 0318 GMT on December 20.
The crew will return from nearly 12 days aboard the ISS. Their mission was Misurkin’s third spaceflight and the first for both Maezawa and Hirano, who organized their trip through the Virginia Space Adventures company. (Maezawa paid for his and Hirano’s seats.)
It is the first ISS mission that Space Adventures has organized since 2009. Between 2001 and 2009, the company helped send seven paying customers on eight trips to the orbiting laboratory. (One person flew twice).
(Image credit: CPK / Roscosmos)
Hirano has been documenting his experience outside of Earth and Maezawa’s and conducting research on health and performance, adding to the small database of information available to non-professional astronauts.
Maezawa also plans to take a trip around the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle. That mission is expected to launch no earlier than 2023.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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