Astronauts who flew to the ISS as part of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission have returned to Earth after nearly six months in the orbiting laboratory. Surname splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico aboard Crew Dragon Endurance, made the first flight with the same astronauts back November 2021at 12:43 a.m. ET on May 6 – and NASA captured a pretty spectacular nighttime video of the event.
As you can see, the Endurance capsule looks especially brilliant in the infrared, most likely because it has already reached a temperature of about 3500 degrees Fahrenheit when it entered the atmosphere. The recovery team removed NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer from the capsule shortly after the fall. Marshburn was the only veteran astronaut out of four, and he completed his fifth spacewalk during the mission. This is the first ISS mission of the other three, with Maurer being the second ESA astronaut to fly aboard the Dragon.
The Crew-3 astronauts spent 177 days in orbit and began their vacation with a bang. As soon as they arrive at the station, all astronauts on board must seek safety aboard their transport as the ISS pass near danger to an orbital debris field. The US State Department later said the debris came from a Russian missile test that destroyed one of its own satellites.
SpaceX’s next manned mission to the ISS is scheduled to launch in September with two NASA astronauts, a JAXA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut. This will be NASA’s fifth Commercial Crew flight to date after Crew-4 launched to the station in April.
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