SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which carries four returning astronauts to Earth, landed early Sunday off the coast of Panama City, Florida.According to a NASA live broadcast.
To recover the ship and its crew after their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the ships have been deployed to the landing zone in the southeastern United States.
The capsule landed at 0256 (0656 GMT) in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, after a six-and-a-half-hour flight from the International Space Station, according to images from the US agency.
The four astronauts, three Americans and one Japanese, left the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX spacecraft on Saturday after more than 160 days in space. To finally land in front of Florida.
The Crew Dragon capsule was expelled from the International Space Station as planned (8:35 pm Saturday off the eastern coast of the United States, 12:35 pm GMT Sunday).
Thank you for your hospitality (…) We will see you on Earth. Michael Hopkins, one of the American astronauts who left, told the colleagues who remained on board the station.
“We were training to recover the crews day or night,” Steve Stitch, head of NASA’s Commercial Aviation Program, said he gave an interview shortly before the capsule left.
“The boats have a lot of lighting … You will be in the capsule about 10 minutes after landing,” He emphasized, by specifying that there would be moonlight and that the weather conditions had been favorable so far, with the calm of the sea.
Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese Soishi Noguchi became the first astronauts on an “operational” mission to be transported to the International Space Station by the space company Elon Musk, which became a key partner of NASA.
Two Americans already made a round trip aboard the Dragon in 2020, during a two-month test mission to the station. It was the first flight to the International Space Station launched from the United States since the end of the space shuttles in 2011, and the first by a private company with astronauts on board.
This time, it is the first regular mission to be carried to Earth by SpaceX.
For the final launch, the astronauts will be aboard the same Dragon spacecraft, called “Resilience,” that took them into orbit, which SpaceX plans to reuse for other missions, after retrofitting.
And NASA reported that the Dragon also carries “scientific freezers with research samples” conducted in zero gravity.
The departure of this crew, Crew-1, comes after the arrival of a second regular mission on board the International Space Station, last week, Crew-2, carried out by the American company.
– ‘Time has passed’ –
On Tuesday, Shannon Walker handed command of the International Space Station to astronaut Crew 2 in a symbolic ceremony. He said, “I’ll cherish these moments forever.”
In total, Crew-1 will spend 168 days in space. Victor Glover commented, “It’s really over time.”
“We are all, as you can imagine, very excited about the flow of water for what it will allow, and that is a return to our families,” Michael Hopkins said. “We are all very happy with the mission. However, I think we are all very excited to be back home.”
It was initially scheduled to leave the International Space Station last Wednesday and then Friday, but had to be postponed each time due to bad weather forecast in the starting area.
The US space agency said NASA and SpaceX “are working closely with the United States Coast Guard to create a 10 nautical mile safety zone around the planned landing site to ensure the safety of the public” and those who retrieve the astronauts. Permit.
During the astronauts’ return from the test mission in August 2020, the spacecraft came too close to the capsule’s arrival site and had to be removed.
In addition to the four astronauts from Crew 2, another American astronaut, and Rusan, who arrived in a Soyuz rocket, they also remained on the International Space Station. Before leaving Crew-1, the space station housed 11 people.
(With information from Agence France-Presse)