Brevard County

Houston, we have splash down! NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 returns to Earth

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla, — Astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience off the coast of Panama City, Florida on Saturday morning.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:56 a.m. after spending 168 days in space.

Officials had delayed the Crew-1′s undocking and splashdown Friday due to weather conditions in the splashdown zones.

Saturday’s return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the international space station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

READ: Crew-1 undocking, splash down delayed due to weather conditions

“Welcome home Victor, Michael, Shannon, and Soichi, and congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their safe and successful splashdown,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, who was confirmed by the Senate to serve as NASA Administrator on April 29. “We’ve accomplished another incredible spaceflight for America and our commercial and international partners. Safe, reliable transportation to the international space station is exactly the vision that NASA had when the agency embarked on the commercial crew program.”

The Crew Dragon vessel “Resilience” undocked from the space station just after 8:35 p.m. Saturday to begin the trip home.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The crew lifted off from the Space Coast on Nov. 15, 2020.

READ: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to host special ceremony honoring late astronaut Michael Collins

According to NASA, Resilience will return to SpaceX’s Dragon Lair in Florida for inspection and processing.

The next NASA and SpaceX crewed mission is Crew-3, is currently targeted for launch no earlier than Oct. 23.

READ: Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, dies after battle with cancer

The Crew-2 astronauts launched April 23 and will live and work aboard the space station until their return to Earth in about six months.

Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth Oct. 31, about a week after welcoming their Crew-3 colleagues to the orbiting outpost.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.