Four crew members aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule touched down Saturday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, returning safely from a five-month science mission to the International Space Station.
A spokesperson said the SpaceX capsule, dubbed Endurance, plunged into the waters off the coast of Tampa just after 11 p.m., carrying two NASA astronauts, a Japanese astronaut and a Russian astronaut after a nearly nine-hour flight from the Orbital Research Laboratory. NASA-SpaceX webcast.
The Crew-5 Mission left Florida on Oct. 6 for a routine experiment aboard the station. They included astronaut Anna Kikina, 38, who became the first Russian to fly a US spacecraft in 20 years, and NASA Flight Commander Nicole Onapu Mann, 45, who is the first Native American woman put into orbit.
Also on board were NASA pilot Josh Kasada, 49, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, 59, a veteran of four previous spaceflights.
The mission was SpaceX’s sixth crewed flight for NASA since the Crew Dragon spacecraft first flew with humans in May 2020, when it returned crewed launches to US soil nearly a decade after the US relied on Russia’s Soyuz program for space station flights. .
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The Crew Dragon spacecraft, a capsule-shaped capsule designed to launch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, detached from the space station early Saturday morning and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere around 10:11 p.m., enduring the heat of friction. 1,930 degrees Celsius
Two sets of parachutes were deployed to slow the capsule’s descent to 15 mph (24 kph) just before a dive.
The mission was SpaceX’s sixth crewed flight for NASA since the Crew Dragon spacecraft first flew humans in May 2020, when it returned crewed launches to US soil nearly a decade after the US relied on Russia’s Soyuz program for space station flights.
Kekina, the only woman in the Russian cosmonaut corps, was the first Russian woman to fly on a US spacecraft under a renewable agreement signed in 2022 between NASA and the Russian Space Agency for joint flights. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who is currently on the station, was launched on a Soyuz rocket in September.
Watch the moment civilian astronauts emerge from the Space X capsule back to Earth
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