Return to Earth of the SpaceX spacecraft with 4 astronauts from the International Space Station

 Sylvie Claire  May 2, 2021

Their capsule ditched in the middle of the night at 02:56 (06:56 GMT), in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Panama City, Florida, in the southeastern United States, after a six-and-a-half-hour flight from the ISS, according to infrared images broadcast by a Nasa high-altitude search aircraft.


The crew, consisting of three Americans and one Japanese, said they were in good health, according to the U.S. Space Agency.


For the final splashdown, the astronauts are aboard the same Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, which had taken them to orbit, and which SpaceX then plans to reuse for other missions, after reconditioning. 


Dragon also carries on board scientific freezers filled with samples of research conducted in zero gravity, said Nasa.


The departure of this crew, Crew-1, follows the arrival on board the ISS last week of a second regular mission carried by the American company (Crew-2), of which the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is a member, and to whom the baton has been passed in recent days.


In total, Crew-1 will have spent 168 days in space. Time flew, it went really fas , judged Victor Glover.


We are all, as you can imagine, very excited about this landing, for what it will allow, which is the return to our families, said Michael Hopkins. We're very excited about this mission. I think we're all looking forward to going home as well.


Their departure from the ISS was initially scheduled for Wednesday, then Friday, but had to be postponed each time because of the bad weather conditions expected in the landing zone.


In addition to the four Crew-2 astronauts, another American astronaut and two Russians, who arrived on board a Soyuz rocket, also remain in the ISS. Before the departure of Crew-1, the Space Station was populated with no less than 11 people.

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