Rubins, along with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will close the hatch to the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 6:10 p.m. EDT to begin the journey back to Earth. The trio will undock from the space-facing port of the station’s Poisk module at 9:34 p.m., heading for a parachute-assisted landing at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17, on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.
The three crew members will wrap up a 185-day mission spanning 2,960 orbits of Earth and 78.4 million miles. Rubins is completing her second flight, with 300 cumulative days in space. Ryzhikov is completing his second spaceflight, with 358 cumulative days. This was Kud-Sverchkov’s first spaceflight.
In advance of Soyuz departure coverage, station commander Ryzhikov will hand over command of the station to NASA astronaut Shannon Walker during a change of command ceremony. The event will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, April 15.
On Friday, April 16, coverage of the farewells and hatch closure for the departing crew members will begin at 5:45 p.m., followed by undocking coverage at 9:15 p.m., with coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 11:30 p.m.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 65 will formally begin aboard the station, with new station commander Walker, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Mark Vande Hei, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.
Later this month, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 members – NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet – will join the Expedition 65 members aboard the station.
After landing, the Soyuz MS-17 crew will split up, with Rubins returning to her home in Houston, while the cosmonauts fly back to their training base in Star City, Russia.