The SpaceX Crew-1 mission returned safely to Earth – and broke the record in the process. NASA has confirmed that Crew-1 has broken the record for the longest mission of a US spacecraft with a Crew Dragon Resilience capsule lasting 168 days in orbit before taking off off the coast of Florida at 02:56 East. The previous best was determined in February 1974, when the last Skylab crew spent just over 84 days on their mission.
NASA has confirmed that this is also the first night takeoff for a U.S. spacecraft with a crew since touching the Apollo 8 ocean in December 1968.
The achievement was not entirely unexpected when the Crew-1 team had to spend about six months conducting experiments, space walks and other activities aboard the International Space Station. The recently docked Crew-2 should last about that long. Still, the completed mission is an important stage. It shows how many space flights have evolved in half a century and proves that private spacecraft are ready to handle some of the more demanding tasks of crew travel.
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