Descent vehicle from ISS on its way to Earth

Three crew members from the International Space Station are returning to Earth, having spent 163 days in orbit after carrying out a number of space walks and scientific experiments.

Commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineers Timothy Creamer and Soichi Noguchi have said good bye to the crew that stays on ISS and boarded a Soyuz TMA-17 descent vehicle, which undocked from the ISS at midnight universal time.

The journey home will take some three hours and they are expected to land in Kazakhstan at 07:08 Moscow time, Wednesday morning.

Three other crewmen remain on the station and will be joined by three more crew in two weeks.

On Monday, Russia announced that flight engineers Doug Wheelock, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker will make-up the next crew to leave for the ISS on June 16th.