NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker as well as astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) made history over the weekend when they completed the first operational mission in SpaceX’s reusable spacecraft Crew Dragon after a stay of almost six months have on the International Space Station (ISS).
This week the crew will talk about their various experiences during the mission, including the round-trip and everything in between. See the end of this article for details on viewing.
Prior to the Crew 1 mission, the Crew Dragon had only promoted astronauts once when it took Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the space station on the Demo 2 test mission. The success of this trip paved the way for the Crew-1 launch in November 2020.
Space fans will be excited to see what the astronauts experienced during the six and a half hour journey home from the space station on Sunday.
When you enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, a spacecraft is put under heavy stress with a special heat shield built into the design to prevent it from burning down.
Speaking of his return last summer, Behnken said the Crew Dragon capsule “really came to life” and sounded “like an animal” when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
“As we descended through the atmosphere, the engines fired almost continuously,” said the astronaut. “It doesn’t sound like a machine, it sounds like an animal that comes through the atmosphere with all the trains that come from the engines and the atmosphere.”
As part of the training to prepare the astronauts for the final phases before the hosing down, SpaceX plays audio clips that were recorded during the descent during an unscrewed cargo mission to the space station prior to the first astronaut journey in the Crew Dragon. This gives astronauts a clearer understanding of what to expect in those noisy and bumpy endings.
We look forward to finding out if the experiences of the Crew 1 astronauts were similar to Behnken’s.
How to watch
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts will begin answering questions Thursday, May 6th at 3:45 p.m. ET.
The press conference will be broadcast live on NASA television and on the agency’s website. You can also watch it on the video player embedded at the top of this page.
In the meantime, enjoy some of the highlights of the Crew 1 astronauts’ ISS mission via this collection of photos and footage.