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SpaceX Mission: Four astronauts return from a five-month ISS mission

On Saturday night, the crew will board their spacecraft, which has remained attached to the space station’s ports since the astronauts arrived in November. They will disembark from the ISS around 20:30 ET and then spend the night aboard their capsule while flying in orbit. The spacecraft will power its onboard engines to safely crash into Earth’s dense atmosphere and use a series of parachutes to slow its condition before bursting off the coast of Florida on Sunday morning at around 2:57 p.m. ET .

As the vehicle glides into the ocean with an overhanging train of four large parachutes, a rescue ship crew will be stationed in the Gulf of Mexico to greet the crew on arrival. The astronauts will then be transported by helicopter or boat back to NASA̵

7;s Johnson Space Center in Houston, which is the home base for all American astronauts.

Recovery crews will try to make their return as soon as possible. Ocean splashes can be harsh for astronauts, as moving waves can cause severe seasickness. Asked what he was looking forward to eating after returning home, NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins admitted that he would probably not be able to handle the gourmet meal.

“If I have an appetite, it will be a bonus,” Hopkins told a remote news conference Monday.

Authorities are closely monitoring the water nearby for intruders. During the skating of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 in August, a swarm of unidentified boats with waving flags reached the recovery area. But Coast Guard crews are currently stationed on the perimeter, hoping to prevent a recurrence of this scenario.

A SpaceX rocket carrying four astronauts launches from Florida
The capsule has a working toilet, and astronauts – NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from the Japanese space agency – will have time to sleep while the fully autonomous vehicle orbits while SpaceX and NASA staff in Houston Texas and Hawthorne, California, watch over the journey.
Walker served as commander of the space station, and on Tuesday she officially handed over control to Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who arrived on the ISS last week aboard another SpaceX spacecraft.

The crew’s return on Sunday will complete a remarkable mission for NASA and SpaceX: This is the first fully operational crew mission for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, following a test mission in May involving NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Benken, both test pilots. , to the space station.

This is only the second time that SpaceX and NASA have ever taken astronauts home aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft since Behnken and Hurley returned from the SpaceX Demo-2 mission in August. And Benken had described re-entry as the fastest part of the return trip.

The spacecraft becomes extremely hot due to the rapid compression of the air and the friction of air molecules that rub against its exterior, although a thick heat shield will protect the astronauts inside as the vehicle roars at its target: “It doesn’t sound like a machine. sounds like an animal, “Benken told reporters last year.

But this mission, called Crew-1, is not a test. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon was officially certified as a spacecraft worthy of transporting people before the launch of Crew-1 in November, paving the way for it to start making travel relatively routine, transporting astronauts from different backgrounds.

Both Walker and Noguchi, for example, have experience in physics. And the team conducts experiments during their five-month stay on the ISS, including research on how microgravity affects human heart tissue. They also conducted space walks to make improvements and repairs to the space station’s exterior, and grew radishes to build on research designed to understand how food can be grown to support deep space exploration missions.
NASA astronauts can't wait to leave Earth for the SpaceX mission

Astronauts even have to eat some of the crops they have grown, Hopkins said at a recent news conference.

“I think we will all agree that it’s amazing to have fresh [food] up here, “Hopkins said.

This was Glover’s first space mission of his kind, and his assignment was historic because he became the first black man to become a staff member of the ISS.

“One thing that really struck me was the first time I got out of the seat after that. [our spacecraft] I was safe in orbit and I looked out the window and saw the Earth from 250 miles up, “Glover said.” I will never forget this moment … It was not about the view. The look made me feel … The earth is amazing. It’s beautiful. It protects us, so we have to work hard to protect it. “

The United States has spent nearly a decade without the ability to launch astronauts into space since the withdrawal of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, and NASA has been forced to rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to take astronauts to the ISS, which the space agency said was left a multibillion-dollar orbital laboratory with a shortage of staff. 13 astronauts were on board at the same time in 2009. This number has occasionally dropped to three times, leaving fewer people to help with experiments and maintain a well-maintained space station. However, with the latest SpaceX missions, the staff has grown to 11.

SpaceX developed the Crew Dragon capsule as part of NASA’s commercial crew program, which for the first time in the space agency’s history handed over much of the design, development and testing of new manned spacecraft to the private sector. NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing fixed-price contracts worth $ 2.6 billion and $ 4.2 billion, respectively, to get the job done. Development of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is still slow due to major software problems discovered during a test mission last year, but officials say the vehicle could be ready this year.

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