Astronauts’ Return to Earth Delayed Until Saturday

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The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews: the Soyuz MS-18 crew in the back row, SpaceX Crew-2 in the middle row, and the four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts in the far left and right corners. (NASA)

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is now targeting a return to Earth at 11:36 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 1, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 5:55 p.m. Friday, April 30, to begin the journey home.

NASA and SpaceX agreed to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Wednesday, April 28, following a review of forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which currently predict wind speeds above the recovery criteria. Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of Friday’s planned undocking.

The return to Earth – and activities leading up to the return – will air live on NASA Television, the NASA App, and the agency’s website.

Crew-1 is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which worked with the U.S. aerospace industry to return launches with astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.

In advance of departure from the space station, Crew-1 astronaut and station commander Walker of NASA handed over command of the station to JAXA astronaut and Crew-2 member Akihiko Hoshide during a change of command and farewell event.

The Crew Dragon will undock autonomously and depart from the space station with the capability to splashdown at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Resilience also will return to Earth important and time-sensitive research.

For normal crew rescue and recovery operations, the NASA and SpaceX teams select two primary splashdown locations from the seven possible locations about two weeks prior to return, with additional decision milestones taking place prior to crew boarding the spacecraft, during free flight, and before Crew Dragon performs a deorbit burn.

NASA and SpaceX closely coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard to establish a 10-nautical-mile safety zone around the expected splashdown location to ensure safety for the public and for those involved in the recovery operations, as well as the crew aboard the returning spacecraft.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts and the space station blog.

Learn more about splashdown locations, weather criteria, and recovery logistics, at: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-spacex-crew-rescue-and-recovery/

See full mission coverage, NASA’s commercial crew blog, and more information about the mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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