Update for 10 a.m. March 9: This story has been updated to reflect the latest times from NASA.
SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronaut mission for NASA is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Saturday (March 11), and you can watch the action live.
A SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying the Crew-5 quartet — NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina and Japan’s Koichi Wakata — is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station (ISS) at 2:05 a.m. EST (0705 GMT) on Saturday, wrapping up five months in orbit.
You can watch the Dragon’s departure live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the agency (opens in new tab). Coverage begins at 12 a.m. EST (0500 GMT) on Saturday. NASA delayed the departure from the ISS twice due to weather concerns from previous announced timings on Wednesday (March 7) and Thursday (March 8).
The deorbit burn kicking off splashdown will occur at 8:25 p.m. EST on Saturday (0125 GMT on Sunday, March 12) with splashdown expected to occur around 9:19 p.m. EST on Saturday (0219 GMT on Sunday, March 12.)
Related: Auroras, spacecraft mods and more: SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts reflect on their time in orbit
Crew-5 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Oct. 5, 2022. It was a historic liftoff, making Mann the first Native American woman to reach space and Kikina the first Russian to fly to orbit on a private American spacecraft.
The Crew-5 astronauts have spent an eventful five months off Earth. They’ve been treated to some gorgeous auroral displays, for example, and two Russian vehicles docked to the ISS — a Soyuz crew-carrying craft and a robotic Progress freighter — sprang leaks during the spaceflyers’ stay on the station.
Crew-5’s Dragon, named Endurance, was briefly modified to accommodate an extra passenger — one of the three Soyuz astronauts, NASA’s Frank Rubio — in case an emergency evacuation of the ISS were required. But those mods were removed last month, after Russia launched a replacement Soyuz that will take Rubio and his two Russian crewmates home to Earth this fall.
There will still be a SpaceX mission at the ISS after Crew-5 departs: Crew-6 arrived at the orbiting lab early Friday morning (March 3) aboard the Dragon Endeavour.
The Crew-6 astronauts — NASA’s Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan Al Neyadi and cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev — are scheduled to live aboard the ISS for the next six months.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).