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The SpaceX and NASA mission return to Earth after 5 months in orbit

The SpaceX and NASA mission return to Earth after 5 months in orbit

(CNN) – The SpaceX spacecraft flew from outer space Sunday morning, and upon entering the planet, it deployed its parachute in the Gulf of Mexico, marking the end of the multi-record mission.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Space Agency rode the Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday afternoon and spent the entire night aboard the fully autonomous 4-meter-wide capsule while preparing and transporting the engine. Maneuvers for the return.

The spacecraft launched its engines to penetrate Earth’s thick atmosphere at about 2:00 a.m. (Miami time), and the capsule deployed a series of spiraling parachutes to slow its descent before setting off off the coast of Panama City, Florida at 2:56 a.m.

The safe return of astronauts is the end of the historic mission of NASA and SpaceX, dubbed Crew-1, which set a record for the longest time in space, for more than 5 months, for a crew that took off on a spacecraft. Built in the United States.

This is only the second time that SpaceX and NASA have brought astronauts home aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft, after the historic return of NASA astronaut Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the SpaceX Demo-2 mission In August 2020. Behnken described re-entry as the most influential part of the return journey.

Two NASA astronauts return to Earth 0:45

The spacecraft becomes very hot as air particles rub against the outside, although a thick shield of heat protected the astronauts inside as the spacecraft pushed toward its target: “It doesn’t look like a machine.” Behnken told reporters last year. .

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Wait for a brigade of rescue ships to pull the Crew Dragon from the ocean, moving quickly as the waves can cause astronauts to dizzy. When asked about the food he was looking forward to when he got home, Hopkins acknowledged during a news conference on Monday that it probably wouldn’t feel like a hearty meal.

“If I had an appetite, that would be an advantage,” Hopkins said during a virtual press conference on Monday.

This was Glover’s first mission in space, and his mission was historic as he became the first black person to become a full-time employee of the International Space Station.

“The one thing that really surprised me was the first time I got out of my seat after that [nuestra nave espacial] I was in orbit safely, I looked out the window and saw the Earth at an altitude of about 252 miles, ”Glover said.“ I’ll never forget that moment… It wasn’t about the view. It was how the scenery made me feel … the Earth is wonderful. Nice. It protects us, so we must work hard to protect it. “

Before its launch in November, the Crew-1 team named their Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” in honor of the NASA and SpaceX teams who have worked during the pandemic launching their mission on Earth, as well as the global audience. It dealt with covid-19, as well as widespread recognition of racial injustice in the months before the launch of Crew-1.

Support teams are working around the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft shortly after its landing.

Glover said the crew carried the slogan of resilience with them during their time in space, noting that they had to make an unexpected march in space to make minor repairs outside the lab: “Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of this work and exploration.” He said Monday.

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The United States passed nearly a decade without the ability to launch astronauts into space after the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, and NASA had to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station, which according to the agency left the multiple flight. A million dollar orbital laboratory is understaffed.

Thirteen astronauts were on board at the same time in 2009. This number has been reduced occasionally to three on multiple occasions, leaving fewer people to help conduct experiments and help keep the space station in good condition. However, with SpaceX’s latest missions, the number of employees has grown to 11.

SpaceX developed the Dragon capsule under the NASA Commercial CrewWhich, for the first time in the history of the space agency, provided much of the design, development and testing of new spacecraft to transport people to the private sector. NASA awarded fixed-price SpaceX and Boeing contracts worth $ 2.6 billion and $ 4.2 billion, respectively, to do the work.

Development Boeing Starliner spaceship It was delayed due to major software problems discovered during a test mission last year, but officials say the spacecraft may be ready this year.

NASA has long waited for the ability to fully control personnel of the US-controlled portion of the International Space Station, and the start-up of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has greatly increased the amount of research that can be done. That has already elapsed two decades.

NASA harvested space radishes 1:18

The experiments that the Crew-1 astronauts have worked on include research on how microgravity affects human heart tissue. They also conducted spacewalks to make improvements and repairs on the outside of the space station, and planted radishes.

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