Yesterday we mentioned that SpaceX was attempting a rare night dive for its Crew Dragon capsule, returning a quartet of ISS astronauts to Earth. This was the first night capsule dive with the crew on board since the Apollo era. NASA and SpaceX have now confirmed that the four astronauts have successfully landed and returned home safely.
The capsule fell safely in the Gulf of Mexico in the early hours of Sunday, May 2. The successful splash of the Crew Dragon capsule ended SpaceX’s first operational flight under its contract with NASA. The second group of astronauts sent to the ISS authority, Crew Dragon, is currently on the space station.
Crew members aboard the capsule included commander Michael Hawkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The capsule left the ISS of the Advanced Harmony module at 8:35 PM EDT on Saturday, May 1. This was only the second water landing piloted for NASA since the space shuttle was removed and only the third night splash in the history of space travel.
The successful landing was the first to happen in 45 years. Despite climate concerns and overnight recovery efforts, Crew Dragon performed a textbook splashdown with the launch of his four parachutes going perfectly. The capsule fell south of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 am. The mission completed 2,688 orbits around the planet over 168 days.
The mission began in November 2020. The astronauts were welcomed back to Earth by the SpaceX capsule communicator on behalf of the company and NASA. The communicator jokingly noted that those enrolled in the frequent flyer program received 68 million miles.