ATLANTA -- In an official change of the guard, an astronaut with Georgia ties will be handing off command of the International Space Station ahead of his trip back to the Earth.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a Georgia Tech graduate, will be returning home early Monday morning in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. 

The craft is expected to make touchdown in Kazakhstan around 7:20 a.m. EST. Kimbrough has been on the space station since late October.

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In leaving, Kimbrough will be leaving NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in charge. This will make Whitson the first woman to command the International Space Station twice.

Kimbrough received a Masters of Science degree in Operations Research at Georgia Tech in 1998.