FILE - In this Friday, March 18, 2016 file photo, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, a member of the main crew of the mission to the International Space Station (ISS), waves prior his rocket launch at the Russian-leased cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. On Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, Williams, commander of the ISS, marked his 521st day in orbit, accumulated over four flights. That surpasses the 520-day record set by Scott Kelly, whose one-year space station mission ended in March. (AP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev, Pool)

ISS crew members head back to Earth after 172-day mission

Three crew members who have been on the International Space Station for 172 days will return to Earth on Tuesday.

Those returning to solid ground include one astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts who have completed hundreds of experiments during their time on the station, NASA said Tuesday.

The three conducted research in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

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It will be the fourth splashdown for Expedition 48 Cmdr. Jeff Williams, who has spent 534 days in space over the course of four missions.

Williams has accrued more time in space than any U.S. astronaut in history, NASA said.

Accompanying him will be Soyuz Cmdr. Alexey Ovchinin and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka from the Russian space agency.

The crew is scheduled to close the hatch on the return capsule at about 2:30 p.m. and undock from the ISS at 5:51 p.m.

The capsule should fire its engines for a de-orbit burn by 8:21 p.m., and the ISS crew members should be back on Earth by 9:14 p.m., NASA said.

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