Three astronauts will return to Earth Thursday. You can watch their landing live.

 The Soyuz MS-13 crew spacecraft is seen approaching the International Space Station on July 20, 2019. It will return to Earth on Feb. 6, 2020.
The Soyuz MS-13 crew spacecraft is seen approaching the International Space Station on July 20, 2019. It will return to Earth on Feb. 6, 2020. (Image credit: NASA)

Three Expedition 61 crewmembers will leave the International Space Station and return to Earth Thursday (Feb. 6), and you can watch their journey home live online. 

Onboard the departing Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft will be NASA's record-breaking astronaut Christina Koch, who will have spent 328 days aboard the orbiting laboratory — the longest single spaceflight by a woman. European Space Agency astronaut and Expedition 61 Cmdr. Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who launched together in July 2019, will be returning from a 201-day mission to the space station. 

The Soyuz spacecraft will undock from the station Thursday at 12:50 a.m. EST (0550 GMT) and will touch down southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 4:12 a.m. EST (0912 GMT; 3:12 p.m. local time in Kazakhstan). NASA will begin live coverage of the landing at 3 a.m. EST (0800 GMT), about 18 minutes before the Soyuz performs a deorbit burn to begin its descent into Earth's atmosphere. You can watch the landing live here on, courtesy of NASA TV. 

Related: Expedition 61: The International Space Station mission in photos
The science of Christina Koch's near-year in space in photos

Tonight (Feb. 5) at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT on Feb. 6), NASA will stream a live webcast from inside the station as the three space travelers bid farewell to their fellow Expedition 61 crewmembers and board the Soyuz spacecraft. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, the space station's new commander, will remain aboard the station. 

The undocking of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft will mark the official beginning of Expedition 62. However, Parmitano already formally handed over command of the International Space Station to Skripochka in a traditional change-of-command ceremony early Wednesday morning (Feb. 5). 

The six-member Expedition 61 crew, wearing T-shirts printed with the crew insignia, gathers for a playful portrait inside the International Space Station's Zvezda service module. Pictured from left to right are flight engineers Andrew Morgan, Oleg Skripochka, Jessica Meir, Christina Koch and Alexander Skvortsov and Cmdr. Luca Parmitano.  (Image credit: NASA)

Though the International Space Station typically has six crewmembers onboard, it will be operating at half staff until April 9, when the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is scheduled to launch with three new Expedition 62 crewmembers: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin. 

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.