ISS astronauts splash down on SpaceX craft

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Al Jazeera English 02 May, 2021 - 10:32am 6 views

Did spacex land today?

The private space technology company SpaceX has successfully landed a rocket back on land after a mission into space orbit. The Falcon-9 rocket came back to earth in an upright position a short distance from where it took off at Cape Canavarel in Florida. Bill Hayton reports. bbc.comSpaceX rocket lands safely back on earth

SpaceX returned four astronauts to Earth early Sunday after a six-month stay on the International Space Station, splashing them down in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first nighttime US splashdown since Apollo 8 in 1968.

The Crew-1 astronauts, three American and one Japanese, landed near Panama City, Florida, just before 3 a.m. ET. It was the second time humans have returned to Earth on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

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"We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX," SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. "For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage."

"We'll take those miles," spacecraft commander Col. Mike Hopkins said moments after landing. "Are they transferrable?"

The Crew Dragon capsule, named Resilience, launched in November with NASA astronauts Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker on board -- along with Soichi Noguchi of Japan's space agency, JAXA. The undocking leaves seven astronauts at the ISS, since the Crew-2 mission arrived on the Endeavour spacecraft earlier in the week.

Splashdown of Dragon confirmed – welcome back to Earth, @AstroVicGlover, @Astro_illini, Shannon Walker, and @Astro_Soichi! pic.twitter.com/jEVQMyOgQT

"All four crew members are in great shape and great spirits and doing really well," Holly Ridings, NASA's chief flight director, said at a news conference after the landing.

The astronauts' 167-day stay aboard the ISS was the longest for a crew launching from the US, breaking the previous record of 84 days set by Skylab astronauts in 1974.

The last predawn splashdown occurred on Dec. 27, 1968, when Apollo 8, the first crewed flight to the moon, landed in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

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Four astronauts make first nighttime landing in the ocean since 1968

Ars Technica 03 May, 2021 - 12:00pm

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After a little more than 167 days in space, and zipping through 2,688 orbits around the planet, Crew Dragon Resilience dropped into a darkened Gulf of Mexico early on Sunday morning off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

The flight back from the International Space Station went smoothly, with Dragon entering the atmosphere about 12 minutes before landing under four main parachutes. Shortly after entering the atmosphere, an infrared camera aboard a WB-57 aircraft was able to track the vehicle as it guided down to the surface. Sea states were remarkably calm as the vehicle, which resembled a toasted marshmallow following its rigorous reentry through Earth's atmosphere, was hoisted aboard the GO Navigator recovery boat.

Inside, NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Vic Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, were healthy and happy after spending nearly six months living aboard the International Space Station, and feeling the effects of Earth's gravity again.

"I would just like to say, quite frankly, y'all are changing the world," Hopkins radioed to SpaceX's mission control center in Hawthorne, Calif. "Congratulations. It's great to be back."

With this mission, SpaceX's Crew Dragon system completed its second overall flight to space, bringing to six the total number of astronauts brought to orbit and back safely. During this flight Crew Dragon very nearly doubled the record for mission duration flown by a U.S. crew spacecraft, previously held by the Apollo capsule that flew an 84-day mission in 1974 to facilitate the final crew increment on the Skylab space station.

This landing was also the first nighttime splashdown for a spacecraft since the Apollo 8 landing, in December, 1968. That landing occurred in the Pacific Ocean, at 5:51 am local time, before sunrise. Mission managers said the favorable forecast for Sunday morning, with virtually no waves and very light winds, played into the decision to land Dragon after dark.

The nearly flawless nighttime recovery—just 54 minutes from landing to the exit of all four astronauts from inside the vehicle—was all the more impressive as this was just the second time SpaceX and NASA have brought back a crew from space inside Dragon.

"The recovery operations tonight were phenomenal," said Steve Stich, NASA's manager of the commercial crew program, which oversees Crew Dragon flights for the space agency.

Unlike the first Crew Dragon mission that returned to Earth in August 2020, named Demo-2, there were no traces of hypergolic propellant on the exterior of the spacecraft this time, Stich said. The U.S. Coast Guard also helped keep any leisure boats out of the recovery area. (It probably also helped that, unlike the sunny afternoon return of Demo-2 mission, it was 3 a.m. local time when Resilience splashed down.)

SpaceX was eager to get Resilience back, and to start the refurbishment process. In the coming weeks, the company will remove this spacecraft's docking adapter, which is used to connect with the International Space Station, and replace it with a dome window. Then, the vehicle will be used to launch a private customer mission, Inspiration4, that will take four civilians into orbit for three days. This launch could occur as soon as mid-September.

A senior advisor for flight reliability at SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann, said the company's recovery teams have worked hard to get Dragon out of the ocean quickly. "It’s basically practice, practice, practice," he said. "This was an awesome operation. I noticed the professionalism and how smooth it was. It looked like a professional race car pit stop. Everyone was in their right place."

Early on Sunday morning everyone was indeed in the right place, including four astronauts, in the arms of loved ones back on Earth.

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SpaceX capsule splashes down in darkness

Associated Press 03 May, 2021 - 12:00pm

Watch the SpaceX Capsule Splash Down After NASA Mission

Bloomberg Technology 03 May, 2021 - 12:00pm

Watch astronauts splash down to Earth safely aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon

Yahoo News 02 May, 2021 - 06:36am

With their landing the crew successfully completed the first round-trip operational mission for NASA led by a private company. "I'd just like to say quite frankly, you all are changing the world," Hopkins said as SpaceX personnel prepared to open the side hatch of the capsule.

The SpaceX Crew-1 mission is returning to Earth after half a year at the ISS, and you can watch it live beginning at 8:35PM Eastern.

A SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts departed the International Space Station late Saturday, aiming for a rare nighttime splashdown to end the company’s second crew flight. NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi, headed home in the same Dragon capsule that delivered them to the space station last November.

The Crew Dragon's return closes out a record four-flight campaign to replace the space station's seven-member crew.

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule – and the Nasa Crew-1 mission it was carrying – has safely returned to Earth after a trip to the International Space Station. It was the first official crew to have made that journey in a SpaceX craft, as the name suggests, though astronauts had made the same trip in the final test. It was also the first Nasa nighttime landing since the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, with difficult conditions in recent days forcing the original arrival times to be delayed.

China plans 10 more launches to build its space station by the end of 2022. It's not clear whether there's any plan to safely discard the rockets.

The iconic Launch Pad 39A will help take four Americans — a billionaire, a childhood cancer survivor, a science instructor and an engineer — into orbit.

Holton, from Worcester, was jailed for four years at Worcester Crown Court on Saturday.

The charismatic racer and broadcaster was 87.

Greece allowed restaurants and bars to open from Monday as it took a further step towards easing coronavirus restrictions ahead of the planned start of the tourist season on May 15. Greece got through the first wave of the pandemic in better shape than many other European countries but its health services were put under severe strain in recent months by a surge in infections in areas, including the capital Athens and the second-largest city Thessaloniki. As cheap self-testing and vaccinations gathered pace, the government has started easing restrictions and hopes to avoid another lost summer for the tourist sector, which accounts for a fifth of the country's economic output and one in five jobs.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador worried Monday that yet another shadowy release of a drug lord is about to make Mexico a target of international ridicule. Almost eight years ago, drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walked out of a Mexican prison late at night with an improperly ordered release. On Saturday, another top capo of the Sinaloa cartel was about to walk in similar circumstances.

He is a member of MS-13, one of the world’s most violent street gangs.

Rhys Hoskins hit a ball that was initially called a game-tying home run on Sunday night against the Mets, but after replay, umpires ruled it a double.

House GOP leadership reportedly isn't pleased with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) these days and her job as GOP conference chair may be on the line, but the congresswoman remains undeterred in her efforts to combat former President Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 election. The Twitter-less Trump released one of his rare statements on Monday morning, a one-liner that reads: "The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!" The statement appears to be an attempt to co-opt the term used by many Trump opponents to describe his claims that he really won the election, and Cheney seemingly wants to ensure that doesn't happen. Not long after Trump's words were made public, Cheney fired back, tweeting that, on the contrary, "anyone who claims" the election was fraudulent "is spreading THE BIG LIE." The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system. — Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 3, 2021 As Politico notes, House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has suggested he wants Cheney to move on from the issue and focus on policy, so it's unclear how he'll take the latest development. More stories from theweek.com5 brutally funny cartoons about Giuliani's legal woesWhat the Elon Musk backlash is really aboutA blue state-red state vaccine divide is emerging

“When we say we’ve seen almost everything, occasionally we still get surprised with something new, like this weekend,” firefighters said.

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