On April 23, 2021, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the “Crew Dragon” capsule carried four astronauts to perform NASA’s commercial crew mission to the International Space Station at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
The four astronauts in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule have returned to Earth safely, and after a record flight mission to the International Space Station, they crashed on a parachute that landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Astronauts spent more than five months in space. This is the longest time a US crew has ever launched a space shuttle.
After stopping from the space station at 8:35 on Saturday night, the astronauts crossed the atmosphere by parachute at around 2:57 AM on Sunday and landed in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida. They withdrew from the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft less than an hour after landing.
According to reports, the weather conditions are almost perfect, with almost no wind and calm waves. NASA public affairs officer Leah Cheshier (Leah Cheshier) said: “For the ability of the crew to resist the dragon, this is really not a more perfect journey.”
The touchdown is the first time a US spacecraft has landed in the dark since 1968, and this is the second time that the space capsule has splashed in the Gulf of Mexico.
SpaceX’s mission control landing astronauts welcomed them with some humor: “We welcome you back to Earth and thank you for driving SpaceX. For those who participated in our frequent flyer program, you won 6,800 on this voyage Ten thousand miles of flying distance.”
SpaceX’s second mission was to arrive at the International Space Station in the early morning of April 24, carrying four astronauts in space for six months.
SpaceX’s “Crew Dragon” spacecraft “Endeavour” was launched on the Falcon 9 rocket the day before and docked with the International Space Station at 5:22 am Eastern Time. The capsule carries international astronauts: NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet.
At that time, the Crew-2 mission temporarily increased the total number of astronauts in the Orbital Research Laboratory to 11.
—CNBC Michael Sheetz Contributed to this report.