SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts return to Earth tomorrow in uncommon nocturnal splashes

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Clockwise from bottom right are Expedition 64 flight engineers and SpaceX Crew-1 members Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi. NASA

After several delays, the four astronauts on the Crew 1 mission are due to return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow, Sunday, May 2. You will return to Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Planned splashdown off the Florida coast is a rare homecoming after dark.

The crew was expected to return from space this week, but their journey home was delayed several times due to bad weather in the Splashdown region. There were predictions of high winds in the Gulf of Mexico, causing NASA officials to delay the launch from the ISS to ensure the astronauts could land safely in the ocean.

But the weather looks good this weekend. NASA writes: “The teams are now predicting ideal conditions for hosing down and relaxing over the weekend.” Departure from the space station is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, at 8:35 p.m. ET when the vehicle undocks from the station. The astronauts will return to Earth by Saturday evening and have a scheduled splash early Sunday morning around 2:57 a.m. ET.

That means it gets dark when the vehicle lands in the ocean, which doesn’t happen often. “This is the first nightly hosed down by a US crewed spaceship since returning from Apollo 8 before dawn in the Pacific on December 27, 1968 with NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders,” NASA writes.

The four crew members are NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). They formed the crew for the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon aircraft called Crew-1, which took off in November.

The crew has been living on the space station since then, taking part in research and also working on upgrading the station’s power system. The station is unusually busy right now, with a massive crew of 11 compared to its usual crew of three to six. You can see how messy a meal for 11 in zero gravity is in a fun full crew picture taken last week.

If you want to watch the four Crew 1 astronauts return home tonight and tomorrow morning, we have all the details on how to watch the event live.

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