Four astronauts return to Earth in a SpaceX capsule after a six-month mission

The third team of astronauts on a long-duration SpaceX mission to the International Space Station (ISS) returned safely to Earth Friday (6), and landed in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, to finish months of research. From peppers grown in space to robots.

Nicknamed Endurance, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule – carrying three NASA astronauts from the US and an ESA colleague from Germany – has parachuted into calm seas in the dark after completing a 23-hour independent flight that left the International Space Station. .

The arrival video, recorded by a thermal camera around 01:45 a.m., Brasilia time, was broadcast live by NASA and SpaceX.

The Endurance crew, which entered orbit on November 11, consists of American spaceflight veteran Tom Marshburn, 61, and three junior astronauts: NASA Raja Chari, 44, Kela Baron, 34, and their fellow NASA astronauts. ESA, Matthias Maurer, 52;

Shari can be heard on the radio thanks to Mission Control moments after his arrival.

In less than an hour, the heat-scorched Crew Dragon was hoisted onto a rescue ship so the side hatch of the capsule could be opened and one by one the four astronauts helped the first breaths of fresh air in nearly six months.

Back scorching, then fresh air
Still wearing black and white spacesuits, the astronauts shook their strength and balance for 175 days in a zero-gravity environment, the astronauts were helped out of the capsule on special stretchers as they waved to the cameras.

Each will undergo a routine medical examination on board the ship before being flown back to Florida.

The re-entry from space occurred after a red-hot dive through Earth’s atmosphere, generating frictional heat that caused temperatures outside the capsule to rise to 1,930 degrees Celsius.

Two sets of parachutes opened over the capsule in the final stage of the descent, slowing its descent to about 24 km/h before the craft hit the waters off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft shortly after landing with astronauts in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6, 2022. / Aubrey Gemignani / NASA via Getty Images

Applause from SpaceX’s flight control center in a Los Angeles suburb was heard over the live broadcast.

Officially designated as NASA’s “Commercial Crew 3,” the astronauts are the third long-duration team of four SpaceX launched to the space station in partnership with the US space agency.

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, the billionaire executive of electric car maker Tesla, which recently struck a deal to buy Twitter, is supplying Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules that carry NASA astronauts into orbit.

The company also controls these flights and handles recovery operations, while NASA provides crew and launch facilities at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and manages US space station operations.

Microgravity and combustion cotton

California-based SpaceX has launched seven manned spaceflights in the past two years — five for NASA and two for special projects — as well as dozens of cargo and satellite missions since 2012.

Commercial Crew 3 has returned to Earth with about 250 kg of cargo, including payloads of research samples on the International Space Station.

In addition to performing routine maintenance while in orbit 400 kilometers above Earth, the astronauts have contributed to hundreds of science experiments and technical presentations.

Highlights included studies of gene expression in space-grown cotton cells, gas-flame combustion in microgravity, and DNA sequencing of bacteria inside the station.

Crew members also tested new robotic devices, harvested peppers grown in orbit, and conducted experiments in space physics and materials science.

Barron and Shari conducted a spacewalk to prepare the station for another series of new lightweight solar panels, for eventual use at the lunar-orbiting portal site.

The Commercial Crew 3’s return comes about a week after they received the replacement team, the fourth SpaceX team aboard the space station.

Oleg Artemyev, one of the three Russian cosmonauts who now inhabit the station, took command of the International Space Station from Marchborn in a transition before leaving Endurance on Thursday.

Leave a Comment