The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, Endeavour, successfully undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) today at 7:05 a.m. EDT, marking the conclusion of a remarkable six-month science mission. Onboard the spacecraft were a diverse crew of NASA astronauts, Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
The undocking, initially scheduled for the previous day, faced a brief delay due to adverse weather conditions at the planned splashdown site. However, once the green light was given, the Dragon spacecraft smoothly separated from the forward-facing port of the ISS's Harmony module.
The moment of undocking occurred as the space station was passing over the night side of Earth, soaring 256 miles above the Pacific Ocean. NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen, the commander of Crew-6, radioed Mission Control just before undocking, expressing his gratitude for the mission. "It's been a real privilege and honor to be up here for this expedition," Bowen said. "We're coming up on 23 years of continuous occupation of the International Space Station, which is absolutely amazing, and it's been a real privilege to be a part of it."
Undocking confirmed! Now in orbital nighttime, #Crew6 are on the way home in their @SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft.— NASA (@NASA) September 3, 2023
Reentry and splashdown coverage begins at 11pm ET tonight (0300 UTC Sept. 3)—tune in to watch here and at https://t.co/z1RgZwQkWS. pic.twitter.com/pS6fRu687a
Mission Control reciprocated the sentiment, commending the crew's exceptional work during their mission. "You're truly space kings," they radioed to the Crew-6 astronauts. "You've done an incredible job, and to say it's been a pleasure to support you guys during this mission would be an understatement. Let's send you guys home."
Following the undocking, NASA continued to provide audio coverage of Crew-6's return journey. Real-time audio between the astronauts and flight controllers at NASA's Mission Audio stream remained available, offering insights into conversations with astronauts aboard the ISS and providing a live video feed from the orbiting laboratory.
The next milestone for Crew-6 will be the splashdown, which is anticipated to occur at approximately 12:17 a.m. EDT on Monday, September 4, near Jacksonville off the coast of Florida. NASA TV coverage is set to resume at 11 p.m. on Sunday night and will continue until Crew-6 members are safely recovered. Watch the Live broadcast in the video linked below. UPDATE: Crew-6 safely splashed down aboard dragon with a parachute-assisted soft landings in the ocean, see video clip below.
The SpaceX Crew-6 mission began on March 2, 2023, when the crew was launched into space atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew then docked with the ISS the following day, embarking on their extensive six-month scientific mission. As Crew-6's journey comes to an end, it marks another milestone in the continuous occupation of the International Space Station, showcasing international collaboration in space exploration and scientific research.
WATCH IT LIVE!
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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.