This Wednesday, April 28th, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship will leave the International Space Station (ISS) carrying four astronauts on their way home to Earth.
This marks the completion of Crew-1, the first crew mission for the Crew Dragon, and NASA will be broadcasting the take off from the station and the astronauts hosing down in the ocean off the coast of Florida.
The four astronauts returning to Earth are Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker from NASA and Soichi Noguchi from the Japanese Space Agency. After a successful test flight with crew in the summer, these four were on board the Crew Dragon for their first mission in November last year.
Clockwise from bottom right are Expedition 64 flight engineers and SpaceX Crew-1 members Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi. NASA
The four have lived on the ISS ever since and take part in projects such as the modernization of the station’s power supply system. This included a series of space walks to prepare the station for new solar panels to be installed later this year. The crew members have also worked on many scientific research projects, including some fun projects like growing radishes in space, which will be important in finding ways to feed astronauts fresh fruits and vegetables in the future.
With all the comings and goings on the ISS lately, the station has been unusually busy. A crew of between three and six people is typical, but there were 10 people on board earlier this month, and just before the astronauts of Crew 1 left there were 11 people in total.
How to watch the return mission
NASA will follow the flight of the Crew Dragon live from the space station, including continuous coverage of the hatch closure, the undocking of the aircraft and its hosing off the coast of Florida. You can access NASA TV either through the embedded video above or on the NASA website to see the coverage.
The times set for the Wednesday, April 28th events are as follows (all times in ET):
- 4:45 a.m. – NASA television coverage starts at 5 a.m.
- 6:45 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins at 7:05 a.m.
- 12:40 p.m. – Splashdown
There will also be a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET with representatives from NASA and SpaceX to discuss the return journey and the work of the crew on the space station. This is also broadcast on NASA television.