Spacex The crew capsule will return four astronauts to Earth in NASA’s first night splashdown since 1968, and you can watch it all live, starting with a farewell to the International Space Station tonight (May 1).
SpaceX’s Crew-1 Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Resilience, is scheduled to undock from the space station at 20:35 EDT (0035 GMT) after delays due to bad weather at its splashdown site on Earth. The spacecraft will bring home NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi after six months in space.
You can watch the SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon undocking here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of NASA TV. NASA’s live stream will begin at 6:00 pm ET (10:00 pm GMT) and will continue until the splashdown scheduled for Sunday at 2:57 am ET (0657 GMT).
“This will be the first night splashdown of a US spacecraft with a crew since the pre-dawn return of Apollo 8 to the Pacific on December 27, 1968, with NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders,” NASA officials said. The Apollo 8 mission was NASA’s first crewed mission to orbit the moon.
SpaceX trained hard to retrieve the Crew Dragon capsule at night. NASA spokesman Rob Navias told Space.com that the company undertook quick work in January to retrieve the uncovered Dragon cargo capsule overnight.
Live updates: SpaceX Crew-1 Astronaut Mission to the Space Station
Crew-1 is SpaceX’s first operational astronaut mission for NASA. It was launched on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived at the station a day later. This is SpaceX’s second manned flight since the test flight of two NASA astronauts Demo-2, which kicked off in May 2020. Since then, SpaceX has launched a third astronaut mission, Crew-2, which reached the space station last week.
The return of the Crew-1 Dragon capsule to Earth will take approximately 6.5 hours. The hatches between the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the International Space Station will be closed at 18:20 ET (22:20 GMT), and undocking will take place in just over two hours.
On photos: SpaceX Crew-1 Mission to the International Space Station
SpaceX ships will wait in the Gulf of Mexico to reach the Resilience capsule for an hour after splashdown. NASA plans to hold a press conference after splashdown at 5 a.m. ET (09:00 GMT) to discuss the return of Crew-1. In addition to a team of astronauts, Resilience provides important scientific results that will need to be achieved quickly.
After six months in space, the astronauts of Crew 1 announced they were ready to return home.
“Now that we go home, it’s exciting because we don’t really know what to expect when we parachute down on the water like this, and it’s just exciting that we go home and see our friends and family,” Walker. told reporters on Monday (April 26).
Crew-1 is the first of six NASA astronaut missions by SpaceX as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX is one of only two companies with multi-billion dollar astronaut launch contracts for NASA, but it is the first company to do so. Another company, Boeing, is preparing for the second unmanned test flight of the Starliner capsule later this year.
Visit Space.com tonight to inquire about the SpaceX Crew-1 splashdown for NASA.
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