SpaceX Crew Dragon Completes Safe Splashdown

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, left, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, right are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, Sunday, May 2, 2021. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission was the first crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Astronauts aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule made a safe parachute landing early Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico. 

NASA’s Crew-1 mission consisted of Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. It was the first operational crewed flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The astronauts spent about six months at the International Space Station. 

Their spacecraft, nicknamed Resilience, set a new record for the longest spaceflight by a crewed U.S. space capsule, the previous record holder having spent 84 days in space in 1974.

At 8:35 p.m. ET Saturday, Resilience started a 6 1/2-hour journey to its splashdown just before 3:00 a.m. ET. 

Throughout their mission at ISS, the Crew-1 astronauts contributed to scientific investigations and technology demonstrations, in addition to spacewalks and public engagement events, while aboard the orbiting laboratory. Experiments ranged from studying protein crystal development to advanced new drug discoveries to demonstrating robotic assistant technologies. 

The splashdown of the Commercial Crew Program comes about a week after the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, the second long-duration mission. The Crew-2 astronauts launched April 23 and will live and work aboard the station until their return to Earth in about six months.

The Crew-1 flight was part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which has worked with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil to the space station.

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