Space station astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Misha Kornienko and Sergei Volkov are ready to make their journey home+ READ ARTICLE
No return to Earth in any spacecraft is over until it’s over. That’s especially so if the spacecraft you’re talking about is the Soyuz, the hard-working, iron-man of Russia’s space fleet. Soyuz boosters and spacecraft have been flying since the 1960s, covering a stretch that has seen the U.S. fly—and retire—the Geminis, Apollos and space shuttles.
But the ruggedness of the Soyuz ships does not mean a ride home in one is easy, a fact that space station astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov will learn anew on Tuesday at about 4:15 p.m. E.T., when they climb into their Soyuz to begin the seven-hour process that will culminate in their thumping down on the very snowy steppes of Kazakhstan just before midnight. Along the way, they will experience a harrowing, high-speed ride that Kelly has compared to “going over Niagara Falls in a barrel—that’s on fire.”
TIME will be live-streaming the entire reentry process here, beginning at 4:15 p.m. The NASA livestream will occasionally switch on and off through the afternoon and evening, but during those times you’ll be able to automatically watch highlights above.
TIME has been following the year-long mission of cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Scott Kelly, in a video series that can be viewed here. A YEAR IN SPACE, a documentary film by TIME and PBS, premieres Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. E.T. on PBS.