NASA’s Space X Crew-1 astronauts truly deserve a big hand as after surviving 167 days in space, the longest duration mission for a U.S. spacecraft since the final Skylab mission in 1974, Dragon and the Crew-1 astronauts returned safely to Earth on Sunday morning!
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, carrying NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, splashed down safely to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 2:56 a.m. EDT off the coast of Panama City, Florida.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched November 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honour of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together.
Overall, Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi travelled 71,242,199 statute miles during their 168 days in orbit (with 167 days aboard the space station), completing 2,688 orbits around Earth. With splashdown, the crew also broke the American crewed spacecraft mission duration record of 84 days, 1 hour, 15 minutes, set by the final Skylab crew in February 1974.
This comes just one week after the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, the second long-duration mission. The Crew-2 astronauts launched on April 23 and will live and work aboard the station until their return to Earth in about six months.
The next NASA and SpaceX crewed mission is Crew-3, currently targeted for launch no earlier than October 23. Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth on October 31, about a week after welcoming their Crew-3 colleagues to the orbiting outpost. This has already been proven to provide additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including helping us prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
(Inputs from ANI)