A Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts aboard will undock from the International Space Station and return to Earth Friday night after five months at the orbiting laboratory.
Originally scheduled for Thursday, the return was delayed for a day due to poor weather at the landing zone in Kazakhstan in central Asia.
Commander Kevin Ford and his crewmates Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin will say their farewells at 4 p.m. ET Friday before closing the hatch and undocking from the space station.
The spacecraft is scheduled to land shortly after 11 p.m. ET.
Ford, who has been the commander of NASA's Expedition 34 since November 2012, passed the responsibilities to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield Wednesday night, making the 53-year-old the first Canadian to oversee the ISS.
Hadfield will run the space station with five crew members as part of Expedition 35. He is scheduled to return to Earth in mid-May.
Soyuz is made of three components, known as the orbital module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, and the descent module. The crews will occupy the descent module while the other two modules will be jettisoned before re-entry and will burn up in the atmosphere.
Launched from Kazakhstan on Oct. 23, 2012, Soyuz took two days to reach the space station. But the return to Earth will take less than 3.5 hours.