How to watch SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts return to Earth

On Thursday, March 8th, the SpaceX Crew-4 module will return to Earth from a 328 day mission at the International Space Station. The mission is expected to be broadcast by NASA TV beginning 9:30 AM EST.

The Crew-4 capsule is one of two components of SpaceX's Dragon 2 spacecraft, which was launched in December 2018, and plans are in place for a future launch with crew aboard as well.

The capsule will not land on a pad like most other capsules, but rather be fired back down to Earth. The capsule is being configured to be able to land on a droneship in the ocean, similar to the demo landing of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft over three years ago.

The return to Earth follows the successful launch and docking with the ISS earlier this week. Both capsules were loaded with cargo by spacewalking astronauts from NASA and the Russian-led space program, during an unscheduled spacewalk by two astronauts from Roscosmos. After being docked for about six hours, both spacecraft undocked and began their return toward Earth.

Although the capsule has not yet been recovered, SpaceX's Dragon 2 vehicle successfully performed a low-impact splashdown under parachute in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew of SpaceX Crew-4 are expected to be in good health. The Crew-4 capsule is the first American-made vehicle to return to Earth from space since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.

The Crew-4 astronauts arrived at the International Space Station after a two day journey from Earth on December 18th, 2018, aboard their Dragon 2 vessel. They were joined by three other astronauts already on board, comprising Drew Geraci of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos.