Space Station Astronauts Land Tonight — Here’s How To Watch Live

UPDATE: The Expedition 38 crew landed safely at about 11:24 p.m. EDT (3:24 a.m. UTC) on March 11. You can catch the highlights of the crew extraction at this NASA video.

They fixed a broken space station and participated in a space Olympic torch relay. And now that they’ve spent their allotted six months in space, it’s time for Expedition 38 to come home.

The action starts today around 4:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. UTC) with the hatch closure ceremony, which you can watch in the video, with landing expected at 11:24 p.m. EDT (3:24 a.m. UTC). We have full details of the schedule below the jump.

Expedition 38’s landing crew includes Russian astronauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins. Kotov was the one in charge of the station while four spacewalks and hundreds of experiments took place, not to mention visits from three vehicles. This past weekend, he passed the baton to Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, making Wakata the first person from his country to assume control of station.

Farewells and hatch closure will start around 4:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. UTC) on NASA Television, with undocking occurring at 8:02 p.m. EDT (12:02 a.m. UTC.) As usual, the crew will be in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for the landing, making their way back to an area near Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. The deorbit burn will take place around 10:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 a.m. UTC), and landing at 11:24 p.m. EDT (3:24 a.m. UTC).

We recommend you tune into NASA TV slightly before each of these events, and to expect that the timing might be variable as mission events warrant. NASA’s full schedule (in central time) is at the bottom of this story.

Screenshot from NASA TV of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft arriving at the International Space Station.
Screenshot from NASA TV of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft arriving at the International Space Station.

expedition 38 landing

UPDATE: Six-Hour Spacewalk Yields Success for UrtheCast Cameras

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning (Eastern time), UrtheCast announced that telemetry was successfully received, “contrary to the online broadcast of the installation.” CEO Scott Larson added that his company “can now focus on the routine commissioning of the cameras in preparation for the unveiling of our Ultra HD, color video of Earth.” Below is the report from Monday.

A second crack at installing the UrtheCast cameras on the International Space Station also ran into data trouble, according to a press release from NASA, although the company involved with the cameras says it is still waiting for more information about the telemetry.

Expedition 38 spacewalkers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy were again trying to put the cameras outside the station for UrtheCast to provide live views of Earth to subscribers. The cosmonauts’ first attempt on Dec. 27 showed telemetry problems, at which point the spacewalkers were instructed to bring the cameras back inside.

“The duo translated to the Zvezda service module and installed a high-resolution camera and a medium-resolution camera to capture Earth imagery. However, the medium resolution camera again experienced telemetry issues,” NASA stated.

On Twitter, however, UrtheCast stated that it is still awaiting confirmation on the status of the telemetry. We’ll keep you posted when they issue an update.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy spent six hours, eight minutes outside performing this and other routine tasks, marking the fourth spacewalk in about a month for Expedition 38. Besides the other Russian spacewalk in late December, two American astronauts ventured out close to Christmas to make a contingency swap on a faulty ammonia pump.

Watch Live As Russian Spacewalkers Try To Install Urthecast Cameras Again

Think of this as Camera Install, Take 2. Russian spacewalkers are going to take another crack at installing the high-definition Urthecast cameras after a glitch prevented them from working properly during an attempt in December.

“The expedition crew members performed troubleshooting on several cable connectors and now believes the problem has been solved,” NASA wrote in an update on Friday (Jan. 24).

Russian Expedition 38 cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy are expected to head outside at 9:10 a.m. EST (2:10 p.m. UTC) today (Monday) to make the second attempt. The cameras will be installed on the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module and provide real-time views of the Earth to subscribers. The cosmonauts will also pick up an experiment package on the hull of the module.

Check out NASA TV coverage of the events above starting at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. UTC).

Watch Spacewalkers Friday As They Install Earth Livestream Camera On Station

For all you Earth observation geeks out there, we have some good news — two Russian astronauts are going to install a camera on Friday (Dec. 27) that will beam live images of Earth back to your browser.

The UrtheCast camera is the headline task for Expedition 38 astronauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy to perform, on top of installing a foot restraint and doing some equipment swapouts. This spacewalk, by the way, is not related in any way to the two successful contingency ones earlier this week to replace a faulty pump on station.

The spacewalk is supposed to start at 8 a.m. EST (1 p.m. UTC) and will be carried live on NASA Television, which you can view in the media player above or at this alternate link. The spacewalk is scheduled for seven hours, but could be longer or shorter as events arise.

“Imagine you have a nearly live Google Earth, but it isn’t four-year-old data – you have data that is being refreshed all the time, with videos coming down over interesting areas where interesting events are going on, showing you what is changing, what is going on,” said George Tyc, the chief technology officer at UrtheCast, in an interview with Universe Today earlier this year.

“What we really hope to pull off is to change the paradigm, get the everyday person interacting and seeing the data coming down from space to see the Earth and how it is evolving over time in a way that isn’t available right now.”

Read more details about UrtheCast in this past Universe Today story.

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins during his first spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2013 during Expedition 38. He tweeted the next day: "Wow . . .  can't believe that is me yesterday. Wish I could find the words to describe the experience, truly amazing." Credit: NASA
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins during his first spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2013 during Expedition 38. He tweeted the next day: “Wow . . . can’t believe that is me yesterday. Wish I could find the words to describe the experience, truly amazing.” Credit: NASA

It’s been a busy week for spacewalkers on station as Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins successfully replaced a pump that shut down two weeks ago and crippled one of the station’s two cooling loops for regulating the temperature of systems on station. With that work completed Tuesday (Dec. 24), a NASA update today (Dec. 26) said systems are slowly coming back online.

“Early on Christmas Day, the heat exchangers for the Destiny laboratory, the Harmony and Tranquility nodes and the Japanese Kibo laboratory were reintegrated to enable experiments racks and other systems affected by the partial Cooling Loop A shutdown Dec. 11 to come back on line,” NASA stated.

“The Columbus laboratory heat exchanger will remain down until the European Space Agency, at its own request, conducts that module’s integration next week when personnel return from the holiday.”