NASA will provide live coverage of key events in the mission of a veteran Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese private citizens set to launch to the International Space Station on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and return to Earth on Sunday, Dec. 19.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will join spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano on the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:38 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 8 (12:38 p.m. Baikonur time). Launch, docking, and return activities will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

After a four-orbit, six-hour journey, the Soyuz will dock to the station’s Poisk module at 8:41 a.m. About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the crew members will greet each other.

Once on station, the trio will join Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, for approximately 12 days on the orbital laboratory.

On Sunday, Dec. 19, Misurkin, Maezawa, and Hirano will complete their mission, undocking the Soyuz from the Poisk module before heading for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:18 p.m. EST (9:18 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, Kazakhstan time).

Mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, Dec. 8

2 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 2:38 a.m. launch.

8 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 8:41 a.m. docking.

10:15 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for hatch opening and welcome remarks.

Sunday, Dec. 19

3 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for hatch closing at 3:32 p.m.

6:30 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for undocking at 6:54 p.m.

9 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for deorbit and landing. Landing is targeted for 10:18 p.m.

This will be Misurkin’s third flight into space and the first flight for Maezawa and Mirano, who are making their trek into space under a contract between Space Adventures and Roscosmos.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:

Get breaking news, images and features from the space station on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.