SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronauts are set to depart the International Space Station (ISS) early on Thursday morning after a six-month stay aboard the orbital laboratory.
NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, together with Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency (ESA), arrived at the ISS in November 2021.
The crewmembers have spent their time in space performing scientific research in microgravity conditions, conducting spacewalks outside the station, sharing their experiences of space with folks on the ground, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery afforded by their unique location 250 miles above Earth. They even found time for a spot of “dancing.”
But now, it’s time to come home.
What to expect
The livestream will show the Crew-3 astronauts preparing to undock from the ISS. It’ll also show the capsule edging away from the station as the crewmembers begin their journey home. Audio feeds between the astronauts and Mission Control will also form part of the coverage, enabling viewers to follow exactly what’s going on.
Around 23 hours after undocking, the livestream will show the final moments of the voyage home. The Crew Dragon’s descent will be slowed by parachutes before it splashes down in the sea off the coast of Florida. A boat-based recovery team will then bring the capsule back to shore after which the astronauts will be able to breathe fresh air for the first time in half a year.
The Crew Dragon capsule is expected to undock from the ISS at 1:05 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 5 (10:05 p.m. PT, Wednesday). You can watch the process via the player embedded at the top of this page or by heading to NASA’s website, which will carry the same livestream.
NASA will also cover the splashdown, which is expected to take place off the coast of Florida at around 12:37 a.m. on Friday, May 6 (9:37 p.m. PT, Thursday).
As always, NASA is closely monitoring the weather conditions at the recovery site. If they’re deemed unsuitable, undocking will be delayed. NASA’s Twitter account will offer the latest updates should any schedule changes occur, and we will update this page with any changes to the timetable.
For more on how astronauts live and work aboard the International Space Station, check out these insightful videos made by visitors over the years.