He arrived on Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the spacecraft of the private US company SpaceX with three American and one Japanese astronauts who spent 168 days in outer space. The US space agency, NASA, broadcast the landing live.
The Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft called Resilience crashed into the sea at 2:56 a.m. local time (8:56 p.m. CET) in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida. This was the first operational return of the SpaceX spacecraft and also the first landing in the dark since the Appolo-8 returned from the moon in 1968.
The spacecraft is planned to be separated from a unit called Harmony on the space station, and on board are American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Noguchi Soek. His trip to Earth took about six and a half hours. NASA says the four astronauts are in good health.
“Thank you for your hospitality,” Michael Hopkins told those aboard the International Space Station. “We’ll meet on Earth.”
How it feels to know that the astronauts on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission have safely returned to our planet. 💙 pic.twitter.com/CANUXMar9B
– NASA Johnson Space Center (@ NASA_Johnson) May 2, 2021
The four astronauts – the Crew-1 crew – arrived on the space station in November with the first “operational” mission of SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk. Since the US Space Shuttle Fleet was closed nine years ago by the US Space Agency (NASA) in delivering Russian astronauts certified to Soyuz rockets to the space station, SpaceX has now been transporting American astronauts to the International Space Station.
Two other astronauts have already made a round trip aboard a Crew Dragon in 2020 as part of a two-month test mission.
Aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft with its 2 crew – American astronomers Shane Kimbro, Megan MacArthur, French Thomas Pesquet and Japanese Husayd Akihiko – it blasted off to the International Space Station on April 23, where it docked the next day. For the first time in the mission, the “recycled” launch vehicle, the launch vehicle used in an earlier space flight, was used. There were 11 astronauts stationed on the space station as of April 30, the most populous crew in the history of the International Space Station.
The return of the Crew-1 crew was originally scheduled for Wednesday then Friday, but has been postponed due to poor weather conditions at the return venue.
NASA and SpaceX Work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to release a 10-mile safety zone around the planned landing site NASA said before returning. In 2020, when the test flight crew returned, the yachts were very close to the arrival point of that space capsule and had to be removed.
In addition to the Crew-2 crew, Oleg Novicki, Russian Piotr Dubrov and American Mark Vandy Hight will remain at the guard station. The three astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on April 9 aboard a Russian spacecraft named Yuri Gagarin.