How to watch SpaceX's Crew-2 astronauts return to Earth Monday

After a ceremony of change of command, Expedition 66 astronauts on the International Space Station wave to Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (left), on Nov. 6, 2021 ahead SpaceX's Crew-2 dragon departure.
UPDATE: NASA and SpaceX are now aiming for a Monday, November 8, departure from International Space Station (ISS) for Crew-2 astronauts and Crew Dragon Endeavour. Splashdown will take place Monday night at 10:33 EDT (0233 GMT).

CAPE CANAVERAL (Fla.) The Crew-2 mission of SpaceX will see the astronauts leave the International Space Station Monday afternoon (Nov.8). You can follow the action online.

After just under 200 days in space, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Akihiko of Japan, and the European Space Agency (ESA), Thomas Pesquet will bid farewell to their crewmates at the orbital outpost. They will board Endeavour, a Crew Dragon capsule for the return trip to Earth. Splashdown is scheduled for Monday night at 10 :33 p.m. ET (0333 GMT).

NASA TV allows you to view it live on and here. The coverage will start at 11:45 AM EST (1645 GMT), Monday. After hatch closure, the crew will drop off and pick them up at 1:45 PM EST (1845 GMT). NASA officials stated that coverage will continue until splashdown.

SpaceX Crew-2 and Crew-3 live updates

Endeavour and the station will close their hatches at 12:40 p.m. ET (1740 GMT) Sunday. Undocking will follow at 2:05 PM EST (1905 GMT). If all goes according to plan, the capsule will make its way off the coast Florida on Monday night (Nov.8).

However, this timeline is still uncertain. Officials from NASA and SpaceX said that weather is still a major factor in crew's ability to return home. Endeavour will be undocked just a few hours after the last "go/no-go" call. Mission team members will seek a backup window Monday to allow undocking as well as splashdown if the weather is not favorable at any of the potential splashdown sites.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed there on the weather," Sarah Walker (SpaceX's director for Dragon mission management), told reporters at a news briefing Saturday (6 November). Walker said that SpaceX and NASA plan to bring Endeavour down in Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic Ocean.

Walker stated that the surface winds at the candidate splashdown locations are slightly higher than the threshold to allow crews to land safely. Teams will undock at 12:04 p.m. ET (1704 GMT) Sunday, but will reassess all aspects early on Sunday morning. If the winds are calm enough to allow the crew to land safely, then the teams will continue as planned. They will attempt to undock on Monday if the winds are not too strong.

Crew-2 astronauts were scheduled to fly around the station after undocking. They will use the Dragon capsule to circle the station and take photographs. This was to enable crews and ground personnel to inspect the space station's exterior to determine if any areas need attention.

Pesquet stated that this is the same procedure we used with the spaceship back in the day during a press conference on Friday (Nov. 5). The reason we don't have as many chances to view the station from outside is because it's not possible."

Pesquet said that cameras are mounted on the exterior of the station, but they are limited in scope and number. A flyaround would enable the crew to photograph other targets, such as docking ports or other exterior structures they might not otherwise be able.

NASA officials stated during Saturday's briefing, that the maneuver would not be performed if Endeavour departs on Sunday, because of weather concerns. This gives the teams the best chance of landing safely for the crew. NASA officials stated that if the departure is delayed to Monday, NASA officials will ask the teams to reevaluate whether they want to flyaround that day.

SpaceX will support the Crew-2 astronauts leaving Sunday to splash down Monday. If this happens, SpaceX can launch its next astronaut to the station on Wednesday night (Nov. 10).

NASA and SpaceX currently plan to lift off Wednesday at 9:03 p.m. EST (0220 GMT on Thursday, November 11th) for Crew-3. This will send astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer, from ESA, to the orbital outpost for six month.

Crew-3 will launch on Wednesday night, as per plan, and it will reach the station around 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday (1110 GMT on November 12).

Editor's Note: After a weather delay, this story has been updated with NASA's new undocking/splashdown times for Crew-2.