Four astronauts trapped in their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, took off from the International Space Station and plunged into the water just before the sweltering dawn in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, shutting down the first flight of a futuristic touchscreen ferry of the ISS. SpaceX
Crew commander-1 Michael Hopkins, along with NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, had disconnected from the space-facing dock of the Harmony module in front of the station at 20:35. PM EDT Saturday
That was the second-only water landing for the NASA shuttle post-commercial crew program and the third night splash in space history, the first in nearly 45 years.
But Crew Dragon executed the textbook back to Earth by falling out of orbit, taking four giant parachutes to the south of Panama City, Florida at 2:56 AM, making a mission covering 2,688 orbit in 168 days since. It was launched last November.
Dragon, on behalf of NASA and the SpaceX team, we welcome you back to the planet Earth and thank you for flying SpaceX, the “radio transmitter company capsule communicator”. For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you have earned 68 million miles. From this trip “
“It’s good to be back on Earth,” Hopkins replied, “and can we transfer those miles?”
And Dragon, we’ll have to refer you to our marketing department for that policy.
Despite landing at night But NASA’s WB-57 tracking aircraft captured a spectacular infrared view of the capsule as it flew down through the dense lower atmosphere, while cameras aboard SpaceX’s recovery ship showed a moment of collapse.
SpaceX crews rushed to Crew Dragon to seize the spacecraft and haul it onto the company’s recovery ship.The astronauts are still inside, waiting for the capsules to board with personnel standing to help them out. On the stretcher if necessary, as they began to adjust to gravity again after five and a half months in space
“What a thank you @NASA, @SpaceX and @USCG teams for their journey back to a safe and successful world,” Glover tweeted, “A step closer to family and home!”
Before climbing up on their own, a Hopkins Flight Controller sent a radio at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., “On behalf of the Crew-1 and our family, we were able to do so.” I just want to say thank you “
“We want to thank you for this amazing vehicle, Resilience,” he said. “We said before the start of the mission, and I will say it again afterwards. It’s wonderful to be able to accomplish when people come together. In the end, I just want to. Frankly speaking, you all are changing the world. It’s a pleasure to be back. “
After health checks and calls home to friends and family, the four crew members must be flown ashore by helicopter and handed over to NASA personnel to fly back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
While mission managers prefer daytime landings. But inclement weather pushed back plans for Wednesday and Saturday. A light breeze was expected early Sunday, NASA and SpaceX agreed to target the Crew-1 astronauts’ pre-dawn return target.
“It’s a good night landing at sea with a Naval Aviator on board! You get “@AstroVicGlover !!! Astronaut Nick Hague tweeted, noting Glover’s experience as a Navy F / A-18 service pilot. Crew of resilience “
Unlike the first Crew Dragon splash last August when the spacecraft was swiftly surrounded by sailors enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon in the bay, the Coast Guard plans to enforce a 10-wide safe zone. Miles for this landing to keep early morning visitors apart.
Crew Dragon’s return completes a record-breaking crew rotation, requiring two launches and two landings with four different spacecraft in just three weeks to replace the entire crew of seven. Of the International Space Station
Date 9 AprBring Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei to the station after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. – Sergey Ryzhikov, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Kate Rubins, who returned to Earth on April 17.
Then, on April 24, Crew Dragon led Crew-2 commander Shane Kimbrough, NASA astronaut Meghan McArthur, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese pilot Akihiko Hoshide.The first phase of the Falcon 9 rocket Also helped launch Hopkins and the crew companies they were replacing on the station.
After helping Crew-2 astronauts settle in the lab complex, Hopkins, Gloverwalker and Noguchi.Say goodbye to the crew of seven on Saturday evening and float into their very own Crew Dragon to unlock.
After a safe voyage, the ship’s flight computer fired the ship’s brake thrust for about 16.5 minutes starting at 2:03 AM Sunday.
Moving through space at more than 17,100 mph – more than 83 football fields per second – the rocket’s launch slows 258 mph, enough to drop the far side of orbit into the dense lower atmosphere on the path. Target the bay Mexico landing zone
Protected by a high-tech heat shield, the Crew Dragon plunged into the visible atmosphere around 2:45 am, rapidly slowing down amid atmospheric friction.
Upon exiting the tropics, the spacecraft’s plasma parachute loosens, allowing the ship to fall into relatively mild impacts in the bay.
The previous previous water landing took place in October 1976, when two astronauts on a Soviet-era Soyuz spacecraft made an unplanned descent in a blizzard-like state after docking. Failed, was swept into a large lake in Kazakhstan. It took the rescuers nine hours to move the spacecraft ashore and rescue the astronauts.
The other night’s splash took place in December 1968 when the Apollo 8 crew, home from a Christmas lunar voyage, made a planned pre-dawn landing in the Pacific.