SpaceX’s furiously busy year continues with an astronaut splashdown.


The crew of the mission, called Crew-3, left the ISS in the early hours of Thursday morning and after more than 20 hours of free flight in orbit in a 13-foot-wide capsule, then fell back into the atmosphere and parachuted. water landing.

The four astronauts on the Crew-3 mission are NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron and ESA’s German astronaut Matthias Maurer.

After the capsule rocked up and down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida to make a safe landing, Chari told the mission control department: [Crew Dragon] Endurance on a Shakedown Cruise.”

Using the name “Endurance” given to the capsule of the Crew-3, he said, “We look forward to seeing more flights of the Endurance in the future.” “It was a great ride. It was a pleasure to work with the NASA and SpaceX teams. Thank you for getting us safely to the space station.”

This completes the third operational mission to the ISS, conducted by SpaceX in collaboration with NASA.

SpaceX has had a turbulent month. It started with the launch of the private AX-1 mission to the ISS on April 8, and the company brought its crew home last week. Then SpaceX began preparing for the return of the Crew-3 immediately after launching the Crew-4 astronauts last Wednesday to replace the Crew-3 astronauts of the ISS staff. Meanwhile, the company’s Falcon 9 rocket launched satellites into orbit last Friday, including the company’s Starlink Internet satellite deployment.

SpaceX already had 17 launches so far in 2022, making it the busiest period in the first five months of SpaceX’s history. More work is on the way, with two more Starlink releases scheduled within the next five days.

The intent of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon program is to return astronaut launches to the United States for the first time since NASA’s Space Shuttle program was discontinued in 2011, allowing NASA to fully deploy its own astronauts and partner astronauts on the space station. was to make it happen. Before crew dragons like the European Space Agency (ESA) went into service in 2020, NASA relied on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport the ISS crew.

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