Crew 1 astronauts splash safely off the coast of Florida

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NASA astronauts Shannon Walker (left), Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and astronaut Soichi Noguchi (JAXA) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (right) are on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience shortly after landing in the Gulf of Mexico Aboard the SpaceX GO Navigator rescue ship, seen off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 p.m. EDT May 2, 2021. NASA / Bill Ingalls

The four astronauts from the Crew-1 mission made it home safely from the International Space Station and splashed into the ocean off the coast of Florida at 2:56 a.m.CET this morning. They traveled home on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship and completed the return journey for the new aircraft’s first fully functional mission.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent 168 days in space and orbited the Earth 2,688 times during that time. During their roughly six months on the ISS, they worked on five spacewalks, including those to prepare the station’s electrical grid for the installation of new solar panels later this year and to install the new Bartolomeo science platform.

The astronauts boarded the Crew Dragon and were undocked from the space station at 8:35 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 1. They traveled back to Earth on Saturday evening before landing in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama in the early hours of Sunday morning in City, Florida. This was an unusual nocturnal splash, and the astronauts were secured using the salvage ship Go Navigator and two fast boats before being taken by helicopter for a medical examination.

A night vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to fetch the crew. A night vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to fetch the crew. NASA TV

NASA’s new administrator, Senator Bill Nelson, greeted the crew at home and welcomed the completion of their mission. “Welcome home, Victor, Michael, Shannon and Soichi, and congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX for working so hard to ensure their safe and successful splashdown,” he said in a statement. “We performed another incredible space flight for America and our commercial and international partners. Safe and reliable transportation to the International Space Station is exactly the vision NASA had when the agency launched the commercial crew program. “

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