It may seem like only yesterday he launched (it was actually six months ago), but this weekend we’ll be saying goodbye to British and ESA astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space Station (ISS) as he makes his return to Earth.
On Saturday, Peake will depart along with NASA’s Tim Kopra and Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko at 1.52 am EDT (6.52 am BST) after 186 days in space. Landing in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 5.15 am EDT (10.15 am BST).
Coverage of the undocking and the landing will be streamed live on NASA TV, below.
Replacing the three on the ISS will be NASA’s Kate Rubin, Russia’s Anatoly Ivanishin, and Japan’s Takuya Onishi. These three are set to launch on July 6 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which means the ISS will operate with just three people on board (NASA’s Jeff Williams, and Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin) for three weeks.
Peake’s departure will bring mixed emotions for those in the UK. He is one of only a handful of British people to ever go to space, and the first to be “officially” sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). But his mission so far has been wholly successful, and he will no doubt receive a huge number of plaudits on his return.
Among his highlights, Peake ran the London Marathon in space and saw the arrival of the first inflatable module on the station. And he’s had plenty of fun, too; recently, he showed in a video how spinning around on the ISS wouldn’t make you dizzy (it’s worth a watch).
There are no other British astronauts scheduled to make a trip to space at the moment, but here's hoping there's another in the not too distant future.