NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, are expected to ‘splashdown’ off the coast of Florida on Sunday, 2:57 am ET.
The crew who departed on Saturday after undocking from the ISS at 8:37 pm ET, had concluded their mission after arriving space in November 2020. They will be required to spend the night aboard their capsule as it freeflies through orbit. As expected, the spacecraft will fire up its on-board engines to start a safe decent back into the Earth’s thick atmosphere, and it’ll use a series of parachutes to slow its decent before the big ‘splashdown’ in Florida.
Their return aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule comes after a record-breaking five-month spell in the orbiting laboratory; which remains the longest time in space by a crew that launched aboard an American-built spacecraft.
On Monday, NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins spoke sarcastically when asked about his first meal following his return.
“If I have an appetite, that’s going to be a bonus.” He said.
Also, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who arrived the ISS aboard a different SpaceX spacecraft recently, would serve as the space station commander, after taking the reigns from
Walker on Tuesday.
Sunday’s splashdown will bring to an end a ground-breaking mission for both NASA and SpaceX. A fully operational crewed mission for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, following up a test mission in May that carried NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, both test pilots, to the space station. The first of its kind.
It is also the second time SpaceX and NASA have teamed up to fly astronauts home on a Crew Dragon spacecraft.