NASA astronauts splash safely to Earth forward of SpaceX Crew-Three launch – irish mirror on-line

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Crew-1 Crew Dragon resilience during an ISS port relocation.

NASA

The dragons fly this week when a SpaceX Crew Dragon brought four astronauts back to Earth just two days before a Falcon 9 rocket is set to put four more into orbit NASA Crew 3 mission.

The quartet, which originally rode into space on a Falcon 9 more than six months ago as part of the Crew 2 mission, splashed in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida on Monday evening. The Dragon Endeavor crew officially returned to the planet at 7:33 p.m. PT (10:33 p.m. ET). Only a few moments later, rescue ships were on site to bring the astronauts back on land.

Originally, Crew-3 was supposed to take off from Florida while the four Crew-2 astronauts were still on board the International Space Station. After the new people were welcomed on board, the Crew 2 group then rotated out and climbed into one of the Dragon capsules that were docked on the ISS for the journey home. But uncooperative weather has forced delays in both crew-2 undocking and crew-3 launch.

Strong winds near the splash point forced NASA to postpone the return of Crew-2 from Sunday to Monday evening. In the meantime, the launch of Crew-3, originally planned for Halloween, has been postponed several times due to the weather and a minor medical problem with one of the astronauts. It is now set for Wednesday.

The Crew 2 group includes NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Aki Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The group was the third crew overall to fly in a SpaceX Crew Dragon and spend 199 days in space. The reusable spaceship they drove home was also packed with about a quarter tonne of equipment and science experiments.

The long journey home began earlier in the day when the Crew Dragon broke away from the ISS about eight and a half hours before spraying.

The current departure destination for Crew-3 is Wednesday at 6:03 p.m. PT (9:03 a.m. ET). This Crew Dragon capsule, nicknamed Endurance, would then dock with the ISS approximately 22 hours later, at 4:10 p.m. PT (7:10 p.m. ET) Thursday.

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