HomeSpaceCrew Dragon splashes down to shut out 157-day mission – Spaceflight Now

Crew Dragon splashes down to shut out 157-day mission – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance spacecraft descends over the Gulf of Mexico. Credit score: NASA/Keegan Barber

Two NASA astronauts, a Japanese area veteran and a Russian cosmonaut bid their seven area station crewmates farewell and returned to Earth Saturday evening, splashing down within the Gulf of Mexico close to Tampa after a fiery plunge again via the decrease environment.

Streaking via area at 84 soccer fields per second — 17,100 mph — commander Nicole Mann and pilot Josh Cassada monitored an automatic 11-minute firing of the ship’s braking rockets beginning at 8:11 p.m. EST, placing the capsule on target for re-entry over the Gulf.

Twenty-eight minutes later, the Crew Dragon fell again into the discernible environment, its warmth protect enduring temperatures as much as 3,500 levels Fahrenheit because the ship quickly slowed in a superb fireball of atmospheric friction.

The capsule’s foremost parachutes unfurled and inflated at an altitude of about 6,500 ft, slowing the capsule to a sedate 16 miles per hour for the ultimate three-and-a-half minutes of flight. Splashdown got here proper on time at 9:02 p.m.

“Dragon Endurance, on behalf of SpaceX, welcome dwelling,” radioed SpaceX mission management communicator Michael Blascoe.

“Thanks, SpaceX, that was one heck of a trip!” replied Mann, a veteran F/A-18 fighter pilot. “We’re blissful to be dwelling, trying ahead to subsequent time.”

SpaceX crews stationed close by rapidly converged on the spacecraft to “protected” it and haul it aboard an organization restoration ship. As soon as on deck, the hatch was opened and Mann, Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and cosmonaut Anna Kikina had been helped out one by one and positioned on stretchers to ease their readjustment to gravity.

After preliminary medical checks, they’ll be flown to shore by helicopter after which helped aboard a NASA jet for a flight again to the Johnson Area Heart in Houston for debriefing and reunions with household and associates.

“Earlier than we began, our flight director referred to Expedition 68 because the ‘Iron Man,’” Cassada stated in departure remarks final week. “And that was earlier than the universe began throwing curveballs our method, after which it obtained actually loopy.

“Whereas we had been up right here, we did six spacewalks, we put in two photo voltaic arrays, we constructed the infrastructure for 2 extra photo voltaic arrays and we mounted a damaged previous one. We had 5 cargo automobiles (go to) together with all of the science and {hardware} that (helps) lots of of experiments and 1000’s of researchers across the planet.”

He added, “we simply need to say thanks, and we hope that we made you proud. If we didn’t, don’t inform us till we get dwelling!”

The Crew-6 astronauts contained in the Dragon spacecraft after splashdown Saturday evening. Credit score: NASA/Keegan Barber

Left behind in orbit had been Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Woody Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, together with Soyuz MS-22/23 crewmen Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio.

Bowen and his Crew-6 colleagues arrived on the lab March 3 to switch Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina. Prokopyev and his two Soyuz crewmates, launched final September, are spending a full yr aboard the station within the wake of a micrometeoroid influence that disabled their ferry ship, triggering launch of a substitute spacecraft.

As Mann and her crewmates backed away from the station after undocking early Saturday, Rubio commented on a “magnificent sundown departure. You guys look nice. Nice job up right here, we’re going to overlook you. Godspeed.”

Just a few moments later, Mann, a Marine Corps colonel, thanked NASA and SpaceX for his or her assist, saying “I can’t let you know how nice it feels to be a part of such an unimaginable workforce.”

“And to the crew on board the Worldwide Area Station, you’ve obtained it, make us proud, we’ll be following alongside in your mission. And to our family and friends, thanks for following alongside and being a part of our mission. It has been a privilege so as to add to the legacy.” She closed with the Marine Corps motto: “Semper fidelis.”

Crew-5 mission length at splashdown: 157 days 10 hours, masking 2,512 orbits and 66.6 million miles since launch final October 5.



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