After Spending 6 Months On Space Station, Crew Of 4 Coming Home
UPDATE, April 30, 9:05 a.m. ET:
A planned undocking Friday and splashdown Saturday has been called off following a review of the forecast water conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida.
Wind speeds continue to exceed preset conditions for a safe return.The team will meet again Friday to review future opportunities for a safe return. NASA said the Crew Dragon is in great health.
Four astronauts are coming home Saturday after spending six months on the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi will hitch a ride in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that launched them to the station back in November from Kennedy Space Center.
The four astronauts of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission will board their spacecraft named Resilience Friday before it undocks autonomously around 5:55 p.m. EDT. They’ll splash down off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico just before noon on Saturday.
An attempt to return the astronauts Wednesday was moved after teams reviewed forecast data in the splashdown zones. NASA said weather conditions in the splashdown zones are currently forecasted above a preset criteria and the team will continue to monitor those weather conditions ahead of Friday’s planned undocking.
The crew has seven possible splashdown locations located off the Florida peninsula. NASA and SpaceX select two of these locations as primary targets about two weeks before the return, with decision making on the final zone occurring before the Crew Dragon performs a deorbit burn.
They’re the first operational crew sent to the station on SpaceX’s capsule under NASA’s Commercial Crew program, a $6 billion effort to launch astronauts from the U.S. using two private companies: SpaceX and Boeing.
Crew-1’s relief crew launched the International Space Station last week on another SpaceX capsule named Endeavour. The Crew-2 astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, ESA’s Thomas Pesquet and JAXA’s Aki Hoshide — will spend six months on board before returning to Earth this fall.
During the crew transition period, the space station had 11 people on board — the most since the end of the Space Shuttle era which prompted NASA to get creative when it comes to sleeping arrangements.
Crew-1 is the first of six operational missions currently contracted by NASA. A mission last May that sent NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station was a test mission for the program. Crew-3 is currenly scheduled to launch in October.
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