A Russian piloted spacecraft with three crew members onboard undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) early on Tuesday, Russia’s Mission Control said.
The Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft, carrying Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and NASA astronaut Michael Fossum, undocked from the Rassvet module of the ISS at 03.00 a.m. Moscow time (23:00 GMT on Monday).
The spacecraft is expected to land in a designated area in Kazakhstan at around 06.30 a.m. Moscow time (02:30 GMT).
The search for the landing capsule will be conducted by 15 aircraft (three planes and 12 Mi-8 helicopters) and six rescue vehicles.
Volkov, Furukawa and Fossum arrived at the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-02M in June as part of Expedition 29. Their stay at the space station has been extended for almost a week due to a delayed arrival of three new ISS crewmembers.
Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft have taken the bulk of crew rotation and cargo missions to the ISS after NASA stopped launching its shuttles earlier this year. Under a contract between Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA, signed on March 14, Soyuz spacecraft will take at least 12 U.S. astronauts to the ISS and back until 2016.