Press Release

NASA Television to Air Space Station Change of Commander, Return of Three Crew Members

By SpaceRef Editor
March 4, 2015
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NASA Television to Air Space Station Change of Commander, Return of Three Crew Members


Three International Space Station crew members are scheduled to leave the orbiting laboratory Wednesday, March 11 after almost six months in space performing scientific research and technology demonstrations.

NASA Television will provide complete coverage of their departure and return to Earth, beginning with the space station change of command ceremony on Tuesday, March 10.

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA will hand over command of the station to fellow NASA astronaut Terry Virts. At 6:44 p.m. Wednesday, Wilmore and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will undock their Soyuz spacecraft from the space station and land in Kazakhstan at 10:08 p.m. (8:08 a.m. March 12 Kazakh time).

NASA Television coverage is as follows:

Tuesday, March 10

10:25 a.m. — Change of command ceremony in which Wilmore hands over station command to Virts

Wednesday, March 11

3 p.m. — Farewell and hatch closure coverage (hatch closure scheduled at 3:25 p.m.)

6:15 p.m. — Undocking coverage (undocking scheduled at 6:44 p.m.)

9 p.m. — Deorbit burn and landing coverage (deorbit burn scheduled at 9:16 p.m., with landing at 10:08 p.m.)

Thursday, March 12

12 a.m. — Video File of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities

10:30 a.m. — Video File of landing and post-landing activities and post-landing interview with Wilmore in Kazakhstan

Their return will complete 167 days in space since launching from Kazakhstan on Sept. 26, on a mission covering almost 71 million miles. Wilmore will have logged 178 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-129 in 2009. Samokutyaev will have spent 331 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 27/28 in 2011. This was Serova’s first flight into space.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 43 officially will begin aboard the station under Virts’ command. Along with his crewmates Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station for two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, March 27 U.S. time (March 28 Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the complex collecting valuable biomedical data that will inform future deep space, long-duration missions.

For the NASA TV schedule and coordinate information, visit:

For b-roll and other media resources, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:



SpaceRef staff editor.