In a landmark moment, 4 astronauts from SpaceX Dragon Crew-1 safely splash down after their mission on International Space Station. The astronauts created history after a 53-year break, as the last such mission from NASA happened in December 1968.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX, took its astronauts from the International Space Station. Crew-1, which launched to the space station in November, left the space station in the capsule called Resilience. The astronauts were on a first of what the space agency calls, an operational mission.
SpaceX rocket took off with the four astronauts – three from NASA, one from Japan’s space agency (The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), who were sitting inside one of the company’s ‘Crew Dragon’ capsules.
On Sunday, the mentioned capsule, named Resilience, returned to Earth, few minutes before 3 a.m. (EST). Holly Ridings, NASA’s chief flight director, at a news conference after the successful landing said, “All four crew members are in great shape and great spirits and doing really well”.
After the successful landing was registered, SpaceX took twitter to congratulate the astronauts and also to inform the people about the success of their mission.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 2, 2021
Michael Heiman, a SpaceX mission control official, had some words with the astronauts and told them that, “We welcome you back to planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX, for those of you enrolled in our frequent flier program, you have earned 68 million miles on this voyage. Resilience is back on planet Earth and we’ll take those miles.” To which Mike Hopkins, the NASA astronaut commanding the mission replied, “Are they transferable?”
The capsule stroked down in the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City after a 6.5-hour flight from the ISS as the images released by NASA’s WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft showed. The capsule left the space station on May 1, after bad weather at the mission’s main splashdown site delayed the crew’s return two times.
Crew-1 finished-off SpaceX’s second crewed flight to the space station and its first such flight to last for six months. The mission marked launched into orbit on November 15. This Crew-1 ‘Dragon capsule’, which astronauts called Resilience, carried Hopkins and his fellow NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan’s JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
SpaceX’s first astronaut mission, Demo-2 in May 2020, was a two-month test flight that carried 2 astronauts to the station. Although SpaceX’s third crewed mission has launched already, the May 2nd return marked only the second crewed splashdown for the program. The third sent flight, Crew-2, won’t be back down until later this year.