BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Update: The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour successfully splashed down off the Florida coast at 10:33 p.m. Monday night, bringing the Crew-2 astronauts back to Earth after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.
Read our previous coverage below:
NASA’s Crew-2 mission is coming to an end.
On Monday afternoon, just after 2 p.m., the four astronauts began their nearly eight-hour journey home from the International Space Station.
They are scheduled to splashdown near Pensacola around 10:30 p.m. Monday.
European astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Japanese astronaut Kihiko Hoshide spent more than six months aboard the space station before departing Monday afternoon.
The Crew-2 departure, which included a fly-around maneuver around the station, means there will be no direct handover between NASA’s commercial crew astronauts.
The crew will be welcomed aboard by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and his cosmonaut crewmates.
“We all have different ideas of how to do things up here, and so a lot of that handover time with the next crew is just showing little things on living in space. More than how do you do a certain procedure because most of us can follow those things,” Kimbrough said.
Crew-3 is scheduled to launch no earlier than Wednesday at 9:03 p.m.
The Falcon-9 and crew Dragon for that mission are out on the pad at launch complex 39-A.
Crew-3 will carry about 400 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station.
Spacecraft commander Raja Chari, pilot Tom Marshburn, and mission specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer will spend the next six months supporting experiments and conducting maintenance at the space station.
“I’m looking forward to flying with people who have not flown before and that I have not flown with before,” Marshburn said. “Looking back on missions, it’s your human interaction with your crewmates that become the most special.”
Vande Hei is not scheduled to return until March of next year.
That means he would break the record for the longest spaceflight by an American astronaut.