one day laterThe four astronauts jumped back to Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule early Friday and reached their target across southern Mexico to complete a six-month mission in the Gulf of Mexico west of Tampa.
With Crew-3 commanders Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn monitoring the automatic descent, the Crew Dragon “Endurance” fired brake thrusters for nearly eight minutes, starting at 11:53 PM EDT, causing the spacecraft to accelerate at approximately 120 mph to de-orbit. delayed.
After 38 minutes of freefall, the capsule struck the identifiable atmosphere at nearly five miles per second, soaring high above southern Mexico, extending southwest to northeast across the bay, and rapidly decelerating in the flames of atmospheric friction.
Eight minutes later, on time, the Crew Dragon’s four main parachutes were deployed and fully inflated, lowering the capsules in a gentle splashdown at 12:43 AM to complete their first voyage.
“Thanks for allowing us to take Endurance on the Shakedown Cruise,” Chari told the flight controller. “I look forward to seeing more flights of Endurance in the future. It was a wonderful trip. It was a pleasure working with the NASA and SpaceX teams. Thank you for getting us safely to the space station.”
After a while he joked. “I only have one concern. This water bottle is really heavy!”
A SpaceX crew stationed nearby, along with a fast recovery boat, moved to board the company’s ship, the Crew Dragon, while quickly rushing into the gently swaying capsule to check on the crew.
Chari, Marshburn, submarine-turned astronaut Kayla Barron and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer performed one at a time on stretchers, standard procedures for returning crew members to Earth, and uncomfortable gravitational pulls after half a year in zero gravity.
All four looked healthy and smiled and waved to the crew members who were brought inside for an initial health check. SpaceX was due to fly ashore by helicopter late in the morning for a return flight to Houston and Johnson Space Center on NASA jets.
“I think we’re really looking forward to meeting the beloved family, family and friends on the ground who have supported us throughout our lives and have been so important to getting us here,” Barron said on his first flight. Orbit press conference last month.
“And of course, we came home and started thinking about all the different things we wanted to eat and drink.”
The successors left in orbit were Crew 4 commander Kjell Lindgren, pilots Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins and European Space Agency cosmonauts Samantha Cristoforetti and three Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov.
Lindgren and his colleagues arrived at the space station last Wednesday and enjoyed a week’s worth of “hands-on” with their Crew-3 colleagues. – A 30-minute trip to Earth.
Since launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, November 10, Chari and his group have fallen from Earth in 2 hours and 40 minutes in 176 days, recording 2,832 complete orbits spanning 75 million miles.
During the mission, three flight veterans Marshburn and Maurer each took part in one spacewalk, while Barron and Chari took part in two. Eight spacecraft arrived at the station last month, including the Crew Dragon carrying the first non-commercial crew, and seven left.
“We had a lot of fun going around them and showing them how to live and work on the space station,” Marshburn said before. “They were a great flight attendant and they were very kind and gracious to us as well. So it was a great week.”
But going home on Friday was the flight attendant’s top priority.
“I miss seeing my wife and kids all hugging each other,” Chari said. “Just thinking about that moment gives me goosebumps. Just by looking at the photos of our children, you can realize how much they have grown up in 6 months, how young they are, and how much they missed them.”