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Image Credit: NASA.

Crew-1 astronauts ready to return back home

On early Sunday morning, May 2, 2021, the four Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins (NASA), Victor Glover (NASA), Shannon Walker (NASA) and Soichi Noguchi (JAXA) are scheduled to depart the International Space Station (ISS) and return back to Earth. This will be the end of their six-month long stay onboard the orbital laboratory.

The mission began on November 16, 2020, with the launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from legendary Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 27 hours later on Nov. 17, the Crew-1 Crew Dragon capsule Resilience and its four passengers, successfully docked to the forward-facing docking port at the station’s Harmony module, joining the Expedition 64 members Kate Rubins (NASA), Sergey Ryzhikov (Roscosmos) and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov (Roscosmos). The primary objectives of the flight were science and research investigations, as well as station maintenance. On April 5, 2021, Resilience had to be relocated from Harmony’s forward-facing docking port to the module’s space-facing docking port to open the port for the arrival of Crew Dragon Endeavour on April 24.

Launch of Crew Dragon Resilience. Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.
Launch of Crew Dragon Resilience. Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.
The Crew-1 astronauts approching the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.
The Crew-1 astronauts approching the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.

Now after almost six months in space, the four astronauts are expected to board their spacecraft, undock from the space station and return back to Earth. Departure was originally scheduled to occur on April 28, but had to be postponed to April 30 due to unfavourable weather conditions in the splashdown zones. The April 30 undocking however could also not be met due to bad weather. Resilience is now planned to undock from Harmony at 00:35 UTC on Sunday, May 2. After multiple maneuvers and the deorbit burn, the spacecraft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere just minutes before splashdown. During descent, the capsule will be slowed down by multiple parachutes. Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Noguchi are expected to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico at about 06:56 UTC.


Sources

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-updates-live-coverage-of-agency-s-spacex-crew-1-return-to-earth

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-spacex-crew-1-astronauts-arrive-at-space-station-nasa-leaders-and-crew-to

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-spacex-crew-1-astronauts-headed-to-international-space-station

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