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Watch SpaceX make the first Nighttime Splash Down since 1968.

Four astronauts brought red eyes back to Earth.

At 8:35 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday, a crew of four – three NASA astronauts and one from the Japanese space agency was ejected from the ISS in a SpaceX-built capsule.

“Thank you for your hospitality, sorry we are staying a little longer,” said Michael Hopkins, Crew Dragon Resilience commander, referring to the weather-delayed flight departure. “We will see you back on earth.”

Astronauts cycle the planets several times over the next several hours until they splash on Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico in southern Panama City, Florida.

NASA has not made this night splash since 1968, when Apollo 8, the first mission to send astronauts around the moon back to Earth.

The estimated time for the splash is 2:57 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, SpaceX, in an update on Saturday afternoon, reported that weather was still favorable for the landing.

The agency has set a press conference with NASA, SpaceX and other officials at 5:00 AM on Sunday.

NASA and SpaceX are streaming these operations live on NASA TV, or you can watch the video in the player embedded above.

It will be a long journey. The astronauts boarded the Crew Dragon and the hatch closed at 6:26 PM, but more than two hours had passed before the capsule left, as the astronauts checked that no air was leaking from the Resilience capsule or the space station. Flexibility automatically unlocks at 8:35 PM and then flies multiple thruster to depart from the space station.

SpaceX confirmed that the thruster firing was completed at 10:17 p.m., the capsule would cycle around the factory until Florida lined up in the correct position to make it splash into the Gulf of Mexico.

Just before 2am, as it prepares to return to Earth, Crew Dragon disposes of what SpaceX calls the “body” of the spacecraft, the cylindrical hatch beneath the claw-shaped capsule. The trunk will burn in the atmosphere.

Five minutes after the body dislodged, the capsule fired thrust out of its orbit.

When in the Earth’s atmosphere low enough, the parachute gently lowers the capsule into the sea.

Spacecraft can safely return to Earth, either on water or on land.

In the 1960s and 1970s, NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules were splashed into the ocean as the Soviet capsule ended its land voyage. Russia’s current Soyuz capsule continues to land, as does the Chinese Shenzhou capsule carrying astronauts.

NASA returned to the water landing on August 2, 2020, when the first crew returned to Earth in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, the same capsule that brought astronauts to the space station last week, crashed near Pensacola. Fla State

Returning from a zero-fall orbital environment to the normalcy of gravity on Earth often confuses astronauts. Water landings increase the possibility of seasickness.

During a press conference last year, Douglas Hurley, a member of the previous crew that landed in the SpaceX capsule, said he had read astronaut reports from NASA’s Skylab mission, some of which was the last time before him. “There are challenges after a splash,” he says. “People feel uncomfortable, and you know that’s how you land in water, even if you’re not acclimatized like we were going to be. Whatever “

Mr Hurley admitted that vomiting would be unexpected.

“There’s a bag if you want it and we’ll have it with you,” he said, adding that “if it had to happen, it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened in a spaceship.”

The American spacecraft has not made any night-time landings by astronauts since Apollo 8, NASA said.

That crew arrived just before the dawn of December 27, 1968, about 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii. “The splash was identified” and noted that the crew were in their capsules about 90 minutes before they were taken out of the Pacific by a helicopter team from the USS Yorktown, William Anders, the pilot module. The mission moon said over the radio while in the capsule, “Get us out of here, I’m not a sailor.” (James Lovell, his teammate, was a former captain in the United States Navy).

SpaceX has been rehearsing for the night and in January successfully salvaged a cargo capsule that was splashed in the western Gulf of Tampa Bay.

One of the advantages of night landings is that there are fewer private boats to be around, that was a problem in August when the previous SpaceX capsule was bounced off. More than a dozen ships – one of which flew Trump’s campaign flags – converged on a detached capsule and a few others took a closer look.

This now raises concerns among NASA and SpaceX officials about security and safety procedures. In the event of an emergency, NASA officials said the private ship could hamper recovery efforts. They added that there could be toxic fumes from the capsules posing a risk to sailors.

To avoid such a result, the Coast Guard this time will establish 11.5 miles of safety zones around the splash point and chase any interrupters.

Typically, the risk of space debris colliding with spacecraft to or from the space station is small. It’s typically a short trip – about a day, and spacecraft like the Crew Dragon are pretty small, so it’s not a big target for overbearing debris.

But when another crew of astronauts Crew-2 launched last week on another Crew Dragon, they were a little scared when mission controls at SpaceX headquarters in California told them the debris was heading. They put on their space suits and returned to their seats in the event of a spaceship being hit, which could cause the capsule to shrink.

Mission control then provided a confident update: further analyzes indicated that the closest approach to space debris was nowhere near. As a precaution, however, the astronauts wait until they are informed that the space junk has passed.

The next day, a NASA spokesman said the debris had passed 28 miles, not very close.

Then, the US Space Command, which tracks orbiting debris, made an even more perplexing update: the fragments of debris expected by Crew Dragon have never actually existed. A Space Command spokeswoman said a review was underway to determine what caused the fraudulent warnings.

There are four astronauts on the Crew-1:

Victor GloverNASA, 45, was selected as an astronaut in his first space flight. He was also the first Black NASA astronaut to be a member of the space station crew.

Michael S. Hopkins 52 Colonel in the United States Space Force is the commander in flight. (Colonel Hopkins was also the first member of the US Space Force to go to space.) He was one of nine astronauts elected by NASA, in 2009 he made his way to the International Space Station. 1 earlier, in 2013-14, spent 166 days in orbit.

SoichinoguchiPM 56 The astronauts of JAXA, the Japanese space agency, are making their third voyage to space. He was a member of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew in 2005 on the first space shuttle launch following the loss of Columbia and seven astronauts more than two years earlier.

During a visit to the International Space Station, Noguchi conducted three spacewalks. That includes testing techniques developed to repair thermal tile damage on the shuttle, similar to what Colombia doomed when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 2009-10.He spent five months in the loop. Orbit as a member of the space station crew.

Shannon WalkerThe 55-year-old has had one problem with the space station in 2010, Dr. Walker earned a doctorate in space physics from Rice University, where she studied how the solar wind interacts with Venus’ atmosphere. how

The space station is slightly more crowded than usual due to the other SpaceX Crew Dragon capsules, Endeavor, docked on Saturday, April 24, bringing the station’s crew to 11, the largest number of astronauts since the space shuttle stopped flying (section notes). The big on board was 13). All four astronauts left seven astronauts behind – three from NASA, two from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, one from the European Space Agency and one from JAXA.

But while there, they conducted science experiments, including tissue fragments that mimic human organs and planted radishes and other vegetables. Prepare for new solar panels too.

And before they left, Mr. Glover celebrated his 45th birthday in orbit.

Other astronauts also got a taste of their final moments in orbit with images posted on Twitter.

If the landing is similar to a return last August, SpaceX officials will go to the capsule, check that it is intact and that the toxic thrusters are not leaking, and retrieve the parachute.

A larger salvage vessel will pull the capsule out of the water. The hatch will then open to allow the four astronauts to leave.

After the health check, the astronauts will be headed for shore. They will then fly to Houston. The capsules will be taken to Cape Canaveral, where they will be refurbished for other flights to space.

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