A SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts returned to Earth after almost six months on the International Space Station, landing in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Monday night. The Crew-2 team consisted of Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet, who conducted a series of experiments also upgraded ISS’s solar panels, during their space stay. And after spending almost 200 days in orbit (a mission that kicked off last spring on April 24), the Crew-2 team finally returned to Earth aboard SpaceX’s spacecraft, which parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico. Apart from broadcasting the return, NASA even shared a couple of pictures on social media as the astronauts returned to Earth.
Check out the additional images from the @SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour splashdown from @Space_Station with #Crew2 @NASA_Astronauts @astro_kimbrough and @Astro_Megan, @esa astronaut@Thom_astro, & @JAXA_en astronaut @Aki_Hoshide. 📷https://t.co/274TuZrwkS pic.twitter.com/uvJ386VoCm
— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) November 9, 2021
While the return of the SpaceX capsule carrying the astronauts was delayed by a few days due to multiple reasons (bad weather and undisclosed medical condition), the four astronauts were flown back to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston post their arrival. Meanwhile, before leaving the ISS, French astronaut Pesquet had shared his experience and tweeted, “A pride to have represented France once again in space! Next time, the Moon?”
Une fierté d’avoir représenté la France une nouvelle fois dans l’espace ! La prochaine fois, la Lune ? Enfin, on a un retour sur Terre à assurer d’abord, et ensuite… un peu de repos.#MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/YYjnY5FxLv
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 8, 2021
In a statement shared by NASA, administrator Bill Nelson said, “We’re happy to have Shane, Megan, Aki, and Thomas safely back on Earth after another successful, record-setting long-duration mission to the International Space Station. Congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their successful splashdown.” Furthermore, Nelson added, “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program continues to demonstrate safe, reliable transportation to conduct important science and maintenance on the space station,” focusing on NASA’s main objective to provide safe and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station.
Meanwhile, NASA’s is currently gearing up for the launch of SpaceX Crew-3 mission which is currently scheduled for November 10, which is expected to last nearly six months on the space station. Following which NASA and SpaceX aim to launch their Crew-4 mission in April 2022, post which the Crew-3 mission astronauts would return to Earth.
Cover Image: Twitter