SpaceX completed the fifth operational NASA Commercial Crew Program (Crew-5) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) today. After a little over five months at the ISS, Crew-5 NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, undocked from the orbiting laboratory and returned to Earth.
“It's been overwhelming to be at the International Space Station,” said NASA astronaut Josh Cassada after Dragon undocked autonomously. “The crew are incredibly proud of the work we've accomplished while we were there. We are excited to get back to that beautiful planet of ours and those wonderful people there,” he said. NASA astronaut Cassada shared a magnificent video of Aurora Borealis from orbit during his time working at the Space Station, see video clip below. The Crew-5 mission marked the first-ever trip to space for NASA astronaut Cassada, Nicole Mann, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina - who launched on American spacecraft as part of a diplomatic barter agreement between Russia’s Roscosmos Space Agency and NASA.
Besides enjoying amazing views of Earth, Crew-5 performed dozens of science experiments during their time at the ISS Lab, the research helps scientists on Earth develop new technologies and medical treatments that help humanity as a whole. The crew also performed spacewalks to upgrade the Space Station’s solar array power system.
Crew Dragon Endurance undocked from the ISS Harmony module on March 11 at 2:20 a.m. ET. After a 19-hour voyage, the spacecraft re-entered our planet’s rough atmosphere and deployed its onboard parachutes to conduct a soft landing in the ocean. Endurance splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida, at around 9:02 p.m. ET. Now, SpaceX recovery teams are in the process of recovering the spacecraft from the ocean. They will use a ship named ‘Shannon’ to fish Dragon out of the salty water. The ship is equipped with a medical facility where astronauts will undergo initial health checkups.
“There is no part of the planet that isn’t absolutely beautiful...” @NASA_Astronauts @astro_josh on seeing the incredible views of the aurora with Exp 68 crewmates @AstroDuke and @Astro_Wakata. pic.twitter.com/8jHX60maQs— International Space Station (@Space_Station) March 3, 2023
“Teams on the Shannon recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Dragon onto the main deck of Shannon with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to Tampa to board a plane for Houston,” shared NASA representatives. The astronauts will be transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
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Featured Images Source: NASA / SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.