A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts on Tuesday strapped themselves inside a Russian Soyuz capsule and flew away from the International Space Station, aiming for a parachute landing at dawn in Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
Station commander Jeff Williams, with the US space agency, and flight engineers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, both with Russia's Roscosmos agency, pulled away from the station at 5:51 p.m. EDT/2151 GMT as the ships sailed 258 miles (415 km) over eastern Mongolia, said NASA mission commentator Rob Navias.
"I will certainly miss this view!" Williams wrote on Twitter earlier on Tuesday, posting a picture of sunlight glinting off the planet.
"Vast gratitude toward my crewmates, ground teams, supporting friends, and family," Williams added.
The capsule is due to make a parachute landing near the Kazakh city of Zhezkazgan at around 7:14 a.m. local time on Wednesday.