SpaceX has successfully completed the trip back to Earth for the four astronauts who were part of the Crew-2 mission and had been on the International Space Station (ISS) for 199 days. The Crew Dragon spacecraft made a safe landing on the night of Monday (8), off the coast of Florida (United States).
Starting around 4:00 pm (Eastern Time), when the capsule dubbed “Endeavour” separated from the ISS, the trip included a few hours of flying around the orbital laboratory before maneuvering toward the planet. The journey had some problems, such as a malfunction in the spacecraft’s bathroom.
As a result, astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet had to wear diapers during the entire trip, which lasted about ten hours. Another difficulty faced by the crew was related to the opening of the parachutes, which happened ahead of schedule, but did not affect the fall into the water.
After landing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the crew and Crew Dragon were rescued and transported to the city of Houston (USA). “We are delighted to have Shane, Megan, Aki and Thomas safely back on Earth after another record long mission for the International Space Station,” commented NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Great feats in space
Launched on April 23 with the aid of the Falcon 9 rocket, the mission was marred by numerous experiments and activities on the ISS. Over the time they were in orbit, the astronauts cultivated and harvested peppers, studied the behavior of gaseous flames in microgravity, and took four spacewalks, among other tasks.
Now, SpaceX is preparing to launch the Crew-3 mission, scheduled to start this Wednesday (10) at the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral (USA). Astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Matthias Maurer and Kayla Barron will be part of the trip, who are expected to spend a period of approximately six months on the ISS.