SpaceX and NASA Crew-1 descend after record-breaking mission
In it from NASA, support teams work around the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft shortly after landing with NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Soichi Noguchi on board in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, May 2, 2021, off Panama City, Florida.
Bill Ingalls | NASA | Getty Images
On Sunday, the four astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Resilience” capsule returned to Earth safely, crashing into parachutes landing in the Gulf of Mexico after a record-breaking mission to the International Space Station.
The astronauts spent more than five months in space on the Crew-1 mission, the longest duration ever for a crew launched in a US-built spacecraft.
SpaceX Mission Control greeted the astronauts with a bit of humor after they landed: “We welcome you to planet Earth and thank you for flying SpaceX. For those of you signed up to our frequent flyer program , you earned 68 million miles on this trip. “
“SpaceX, ‘Resilience’ is back on planet Earth, and we’ll take those miles – are they transferable?” NASA astronaut and spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins joked moments after landing.
NASA astronauts Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover and Japanese Soichi Noguchi reached the space station via the Dragon capsule after it was launched from the capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket last November.
Left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, and JAXA astronauts Soichi Noguchi inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “ Resilience ” capsule after the May 2 splash 2021.
Bill Ingalls / NASA
After detaching from the space station at 8:35 p.m. EDT on Saturday, the astronauts passed through the atmosphere and landed in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Fla., Via parachutes around 2:57 a.m. EDT on Sunday. They exited the SpaceX spacecraft within an hour of landing.
The weather conditions were almost perfect, with little wind and calm seas. “It really couldn’t have been a more perfect return trip,” said Leah Cheshier, NASA’s public affairs officer.
The landing was the first U.S.-made, crewed spacecraft projection in darkness since 1968, and the second time a space capsule has landed in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also only the second time that NASA and SpaceX have brought astronauts back to Earth aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The SpaceX crew’s second operational mission arrived at the International Space Station early in the morning of April 24, carrying four astronauts for the next six-month stay in space.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft “ Endeavor ”, which launched on a Falcon 9 rocket the day before, docked at the ISS at 5:22 a.m. EDT. The capsule carried an international group of astronauts: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA.
At that time, the Crew-2 mission temporarily brought the total number of astronauts aboard the orbiting research lab to 11. SpaceX, founded and headed by CEO Elon musk, now sent 10 astronauts to space in less than a year.
SpaceX developed its Crew Dragon spacecraft and refined its Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which provided the company with $ 3.1 billion to develop the system and launch six operational missions.