A Japanese billionaire and two colleagues will return to Earth from the International Space Station on Sunday (Dec. 19), and you’ll watch the entire thing dwell.
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Yusaku Maezawa, together with spaceflight participant (and video producer) Yozo Hirano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, is scheduled to the touch down on the steppes of Kazakhstan Sunday at 10:18 p.m. EST (0318 GMT on Dec. 20).
You can watch the departure process from the International Station Station (ISS) — which is able to kick off with the closing of the hatches between the Soyuz and station round 3:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) — within the window beneath and on Space.com’s homepage, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency. Here are the milestones to look at for:
Photos: The first space tourists
- 3 p.m. EST / 2000 GMT — NASA TV protection begins for hatch closing at 3:32 p.m. EST (2032 GMT)
- 6:30 p.m. EST / 2300 GMT — NASA TV protection begins for undocking at 6:54 p.m. EST (2354 GMT)
- 9 p.m. EST / 0200 GMT Dec. 20 — NASA TV protection begins for deorbit and touchdown. Landing is focused for 10:18 p.m. EST / 0318 GMT Dec. 20.
The crew might be coming back from almost 12 days aboard the ISS. Their mission was Misurkin’s third spaceflight and the primary for each Maezawa and Hirano, who organized their journey through the Virginia firm Space Adventures. (Maezawa paid for each his and Hirano’s seats.)
It’s the primary ISS mission that Space Adventures has organized since 2009. Between 2001 and 2009, the corporate helped ship seven paying clients on eight journeys to the orbiting lab. (One individual flew twice.)
Hirano has been documenting his and Maezawa’s off-Earth expertise and performing health and performance research, including to the small database of data out there for non-professional astronauts.
Maezawa additionally plans to make a round-the-moon journey aboard SpaceX’s Starship automobile. That mission is predicted to launch no earlier than 2023.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.