Rockledge, Florida – The NASA Crew-5 mission concluded Saturday night in the Gulf of Mexico with Splashdown return of the SpaceX Dragon capsule It carries a crew of four astronauts.
After nearly six months in space, NASA’s Nicole Mann and Josh Casada, Japan’s Koichi Wakata, and Russia’s Anna Kikina left the International Space Station at 2:20 a.m. EST Saturday before flaring up in the atmosphere, their heat shield bearing temperatures up to 3500 degrees.
Where was the SpaceX capsule?
The nearly 19-hour return flight concluded with a parachute-assisted Gun Dragon “Endurance” off the coast of Tampa at 9:02 p.m. ET.
With the 17,000-pound capsule bobbing in the area of its Coast Guard collar, the SpaceX recovery team moved closer to confirm there were no toxic propellants. The capsule was then prepared and lifted onto the deck of a specially built SpaceX rescue ship, the Shannon.
The mission was successful
The crew will complete medicals on board the ship before boarding a helicopter bound for Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From there, they travel home. For astronauts Mann, Cassada, and Wakata, the final leg of the journey will take them back to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, while Kikina will fly home to Russia.
Splashdown has officially completed a mission dedicated to thousands of hours of science experimentation and station maintenance.
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“To the teams at NASA and at SpaceX, thank you for an incredible expedition. It was your tireless effort and attention to detail that made this mission a success,” said Nicole Mann, Crew-5 mission commander and the first indigenous woman to travel to space, immediately after departure. “.
Mann, a colonel in the Marine Corps, concluded her remarks with the military branch’s motto, saying, “It is an honor to add to the legacy. Semper Fidelis.”
What do you know about SpaceX
SpaceX has launched seven crewed missions for NASA, including the Demo-2 mission in May 2020, under a multibillion-dollar commercial crew program contract that has restored American access to manned spaceflight after nearly a decade without space shuttles.
The Crew-5 mission was SpaceX’s sixth manned flight under contract from NASA and eighth overall when private spaceflights are included. It is also the first time since the NASA shuttle program that a Russian cosmonaut has flown on a US-made spacecraft.
The latest mission, Crew-6, carried NASA’s Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, Sultan Al Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev to the International Space Station just over a week after its launch on March 2. The job is expected to return in the fall after about six months of residency.
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Meanwhile, SpaceX’s next mission for NASA, the company’s 27th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, will also be the next launch from Florida’s Space Coast. The uncrewed Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule are scheduled to launch Tuesday, March 14, at 8:30 p.m. EST from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
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