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Jason DavisJune 17, 2016

Night owl? Early bird? Watch a Soyuz crew plunge back to Earth Saturday morning

Tomorrow morning, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are coming home from the International Space Station. But if you live in the United States or Europe, you're going to have to get up pretty early—or stay up late—to see it happen.

The three Expedition 47 crewmembers are scheduled to undock from the station at 1:52 a.m. EDT (6:52 UTC). Their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft will begin its descent to Earth three-and-a-half hours later, touching down in Kazakhstan at 5:14 a.m.

Kopra, Peake and Malenchenko launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome back in December, and will have spent 186 days in space when they depart. Earlier today, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra formally handed command of the station over to his colleague, Jeff Williams:

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Expedition 48 begins at the moment Soyuz TMA-19M undocks. If you want to follow along on NASA TV, here is a timeline of the undocking and landing events:

Event  Time (EDT)  Time (UTC)
NASA TV farewell and hatch closure coverage 10:15 p.m. Friday 3:15 Saturday
NASA TV undocking coverage starts 1:30 a.m. Saturday 6:30 Saturday
Undocking 1:52 a.m. 6:52
NASA TV landing coverage starts 4:00 a.m. 9:00
Deorbit burn 4:21 a.m. 9:21
Landing 5:15 a.m. 10:15

As the crew prepares for departure, Tim Kopra has been re-sharing some of his favorite Twitter photos from his stay aboard the station. Here are a few highlights:

Great start to our mission - arrived Tuesday, successful spacewalk 6 days later. Awesome NASA team made it happen!

— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) December 23, 2015

Canyons in northwest #Africa . #Explore

— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) February 21, 2016

Here comes the sun.

— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) January 28, 2016

Awesome ride! Thanks to all the great training teams that helped make it happen. Photo NASA/Kowsky

— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) December 15, 2015

Full #moon on @Space_Station -- still inspires exploration.

— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) February 24, 2016
Expedition 47 crew departure shot


Expedition 47 crew departure shot
Tim Peake (left), Yuri Malenchenko (center) and Tim Kopra (right) pose for a photo while making departure preparations in their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

Read more: human spaceflight, International Space Station

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Jason Davis

Editorial Director for The Planetary Society
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