After spending about half a year on board the ISS, four astronauts returned to Earth. The Crew Dragon Capsule of Space-X, which brought them back from the space station to Earth in 6.5 hours, landed in the Gulf of Mexico shortly before 9:00 a.m. Dutch time.
The return flight of the Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and their Japanese colleague Soichi Noguchi was postponed earlier because of bad weather.
Look at footage of the landing here:
It was the first night splashdown for an American spacecraft in 53 years. The blackened capsule was hoisted from the sea within half an hour after landing, where astronauts have to undergo their first medical examination. Then they are taken by helicopter to the mainland and from there they fly to the city of Houston where they are reunited with their relatives.
Previous footage shared by NASA on Twitter shows that the four members of the Crew-1 mission float through the cabin. “The astronauts have taken out their space suits and eat their last meal in space,” writes the space agency.
Over the past few weeks, the ISS has been busy. Early April, the two cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov arrived, as did the NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. Last week, four astronauts from Crew-2 arrived: the Americans Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, the Japanese Akihiko Hoshide and the French Thomas Pesquet.
Crew-1 was the first flight to regularly flew to the ISS after a successful test flight, in the spring of 2020. It was the first time in 2011 that astronauts were brought into orbit from American soil and the very first time that was done by a private space company, namely SpaceX of Tesla boss Elon Musk.
The Crew-3 will be launched at the earliest in October of this year.