4 astronauts are again on Earth, having every accomplished their first long-duration spaceflight on the Worldwide Area Station (ISS).
Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg of NASA, Sultan AlNeyadi of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Andrey Fedyaev of Russia’s federal area company Roscosmos, collectively SpaceX’s Crew-6, splashed down on board the corporate’s Dragon spacecraft “Endeavour” at 12:17 a.m. EDT (0417 GMT) on Monday (Sept. 4) within the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Of the 4, solely Bowen had flown in area earlier than.
“After we confirmed up right here six months in the past, it was a brand new expertise for all of us,” mentioned Bowen throughout a short farewell ceremony aboard the station on Thursday (Aug. 31). “I had been to area, however I’ve by no means been on a long-duration mission. This has been a fully unimaginable expertise, and it has been a fantastic alternative to observe my wonderful crewmates as they’ve come alongside.”
Associated: SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts say goodbye from the ISS
Having launched on March 2, the Crew-6 astronauts’ touchdown wrapped their 186-day mission, throughout which they served as Expedition 68 and Expedition 69 flight engineers aboard the Worldwide Area Station.
They’d initially been scheduled to come back dwelling on Sunday morning (Sept. 3), however poor climate situations prolonged their keep in orbit by a day.
“It is actually been the expertise of a lifetime and an actual honor to get to spend six extremely short-feeling months residing and dealing aboard this unimaginable orbiting outpost,” mentioned Warren on the similar ceremony. “I believe we bought lots executed. We began off with SpaceX [Commercial Resupply Services or CRS] 27 instantly, a cargo car filled with science. Later, we had the SpaceX [CRS] 28 mission, as nicely we welcomed a visiting Axiom crew on board.”
“We did three spacewalks amongst our Crew-6. We berthed a Cygnus [cargo] car. We did quite a lot of upkeep, and hopefully we’re leaving the area station just a bit bit higher than we discovered it,” mentioned Warren.
The 4 astronauts departed the area station on Sunday, with the autonomous undocking of the Dragon Endeavour from the space-facing port of the Concord node at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT).
For AlNeyadi, the flight was not solely his first, however the first long-duration expedition by an Arab and by an Emirati. He’s solely the second UAE astronaut to fly, after the transient, week-long mission to the area station by Hazza AlMansoori in 2019. The primary Arab in area, Prince Sultan Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, launched on a NASA area shuttle in 1985.
“We had a superb outreach with many individuals all over the world, so it was actually wonderful —particularly for my area,” mentioned AlNeyadi. “I come from a spot the place human spaceflights have been stopped for greater than 30 years, and I felt that I used to be obligated to indicate what’s taking place with the station. I believe it was a small enhance in the direction of spreading the passion in our area.”
AlNeyadi was accountable for selecting the Crew-6 zero-g indicator, a small plush doll of the UAE astronaut program’s mascot “Suhail,” which additionally returned to Earth on Monday on the Dragon.
Fedyaev is simply the second Russian cosmonaut and first Russian man in historical past to purposely return from area to a water touchdown. His experience aboard the SpaceX spacecraft was a part of a seat swap settlement between NASA and Roscosmos.
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SpaceX restoration boats, together with the “Megan” — which was named after NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, one of many first ladies to fly on a SpaceX Dragon — have been staged close to the touchdown level and have been shortly readily available to assist retrieve the spacecraft and its crew from the water.
With Crew-6 again on Earth, the area station’s Expedition 69 continues with NASA astronauts Frank Rubio and Jasmin Moghbeli, European Area Company (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and Konstantin Borisov. Expedition 70 will start when Russia’s Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft departs the station in late September with Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio, the latter setting a brand new U.S. document for time on a single area mission at 371 days.
Crew-6 was SpaceX’s sixth crew rotation flight for NASA, seventh crewed spaceflight in assist of the U.S. area company and ninth human spaceflight within the firm’s historical past. Crew-6 marked the fourth flight of Endeavour, which earlier flew the Demo-2, Crew-2 and Axiom-1 missions to and from the area station.
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