[Update 3] Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko, and Sergey Volkov, successfully landed in Kazakhstan at 11:26 pm Eastern time.
[Original story] It should be an interesting day for space today, not only will SpaceX once again re-attempt the launch of their SES-9 rocket, but the American astronaut Scott Kelly and the Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are scheduled to arrive back on Earth today.
The pair are scheduled to depart the International Space Station on March 1st after handing over command of the station to the NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.
They are set to return to Earth today on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft alongside the Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov.
What makes this interesting is that they will provide a ton of useful information about humans in space, with tests set to be carried out on the effects of long-term space travel on the body, which will be compared to the samples that were taken before departure. What’s even more interesting is that Scott Kelly also has a twin brother, Mark Kelly and so we will also get data comparisons on the difference between Earth and space-based changes on human physiology.
NASA plans to use this information for future long-term missions, possibly including Mars.
Kelly and Kornienko’s journey back will be available to view on NASA TV, the final farewell and hatch closure is scheduled for 4:15PM ET (21:15 GMT), the unlocking of the Soyuz spacecraft is expected for 7:45PM ET (00:45AM Wednesday GMT) and the final de-orbit and landing is set for 10:34PM ET (3:34AM Wednesday GMT) and 11:27PM ET (4:27 Wednesday GMT) respectively.
You can watch it all unfold at the source link.
[Update 1] Added new image of Scott Kelly,Mikhail Kornienko, and Sergey Volkov entering the Soyuz spacecraft at 21:15 GMT.
[Update 2] Undocking of the Soyuz spacecraft was confirmed at 7:02 CST while the ISS was flying over eastern Mongolia, here’s a look: