Four-man Space X Crew Dragon spacecraft wraps up six-month stay in orbit

Two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and a United Arab Emirates astronaut undocked from the Worldwide Area Station Sunday and headed for an in a single day splashdown off Florida’s East Coast early Monday to wrap up a six-month keep in orbit.

Strapped into their SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft, Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Woody Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and UAE crewmate Sultan Alneyadi undocked from the station’s ahead Concord module at 7:05 a.m. ET to kick off a 17-hour flight again to Earth.

Crew-6 (clockwise from top): Pilot Woody Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, commander Stephen Bowen and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi. / Credit: NASA

Crew-6 (clockwise from prime): Pilot Woody Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, commander Stephen Bowen and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi. / Credit score: NASA

“Earlier than we get busy, we simply wish to say wow!” mission management radioed a couple of minutes earlier than undocking. “Are you able to imagine it is already time to go away? We won’t. … You’ve got executed an unimaginable job, and to say it has been a pleasure to help you guys on this mission could be an understatement.”

“Thanks very a lot,” Bowen replied. “It has been an actual pleasure and an honor to be right here for this expedition. We’re arising on 23 years of steady occupation of the Worldwide Area Station, which is completely superb. Only a actual privilege to be part of it.”

If all goes properly, the Crew Dragon will execute a 16-minute de-orbit thruster firing beginning at 11:24 p.m. ET. The “burn” will gradual the spacecraft by 252 mph, simply sufficient to drop it again into the decrease ambiance on a southwest-to-northeast trajectory.

Splashdown within the Atlantic Ocean east of Jacksonville, Florida, is anticipated at 12:17 a.m. ET Monday.

“We’re undoubtedly wanting ahead to our return, and for me as a rookie flyer, the ultimate a part of that distinctive life expertise (of) decelerating from 17,500 miles an hour all the way down to hopefully an incredible splashdown,” Hoburg mentioned final week.

A SpaceX staff can be standing by to drag the spacecraft aboard an organization restoration ship and help the crew members getting out of the cabin as they start readjusting to the unfamiliar tug of gravity after a half 12 months in weightlessness.

Earlier than departing the house station, Bowen, a former submariner, mentioned he most appeared ahead to “the great ocean air and peaceable calm seas. That’ll be very nice to get again to.”

Hoburg mentioned he was wanting ahead to a “actual bathe.” Alneyadi mentioned he could not wait to rejoin family and friends, together with having fun with “an actual scorching cup of espresso.” As for Fedyaev, “I feel my dream is a mattress for good sleeping. I can lay on one facet. One other facet. My again. Sleeping!”

After preliminary medical checks aboard the restoration ship, all 4 fliers can be flown to shore by helicopter. A NASA jet then will carry them again to Houston and the Johnson Area Middle for debriefing and reunions with family and friends.

Left behind in orbit had been three Soyuz crew members — station commander Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio — and 4 Crew Dragon fliers launched August 26 to exchange Bowen and firm: Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli, European Area Company astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, upper left, Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev, upper right, and flight engineer Dmitri Petelin will close out an extended yearlong mission when they return to Earth on September 27. Rubio will set a new record for the longest single flight by an American astronaut.  / Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, higher left, Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev, higher proper, and flight engineer Dmitri Petelin will shut out an prolonged yearlong mission once they return to Earth on September 27. Rubio will set a brand new report for the longest single flight by an American astronaut. / Credit score: NASA

Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio had been launched to the station final September and are wrapping up a marathon 371-day mission.

They initially deliberate to spend six months in house, however their Soyuz ferry ship was disabled by a serious coolant leak final December. The Russians opted to ship up a substitute spacecraft, and the crew’s mission was prolonged an extra six months.

A contemporary Soyuz crew — commander Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara — is scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept.15.

Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio will undock and return to Earth 12 days later. In so doing, Rubio will set a brand new U.S. report for the longest single spaceflight by an American astronaut.

Launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 2, the Crew-6 fliers may have spent 185 days and 22 hours off planet, circling the globe 2,976 occasions whereas touring 78.9 million miles by means of house. At splashdown, Bowen, the one house veteran on the crew, may have logged 227 days in house throughout 4 missions.

Over the course of their mission, the Crew-6 astronauts welcomed seven visiting automobiles, together with two unpiloted Cargo Dragon spacecraft, two Russian Progress provide ships, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo service and two piloted Crew Dragons.

Additionally they carried out three spacewalks. Bowen and Hoburg ventured outdoors twice to put in new roll-out photo voltaic blankets and Alneyadi joined Bowen for a 3rd tour to retrieve a failed antenna package deal and to hold out different upkeep.

“It is actually been the expertise of a lifetime, and an actual honor to get to spend six months, six extremely short-feeling months, dwelling and dealing aboard this unimaginable orbiting outpost,” Hoburg mentioned earlier than departing the station. “I feel we received rather a lot executed.”

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