After six months on the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida on Friday, May 6th (ISS). The spacecraft carried four astronauts, including Raja Chari, an Indian-American.
Raja Chari was joined by three other astronauts from the United States and Europe, who returned from the International Space Station following a 23.5-hour flight.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, posted a video on Twitter on Friday showing two sets of parachutes bulging open above the spacecraft in the last stages of descent, slowing its drop as it hit the water off the coast of Tampa.
After burning through the plasma friction in the high atmosphere, the drogue parachutes were released on command to slow the spaceship down. As the Dragon splashed into the gulf and recovery boats raced ahead, the weather in the recovery zone was calm.
NASA’s Crew-3 commander Raja Chari, pilot Thomas Marshburn, and mission specialist Kayla Barron, as well as European Space Agency mission specialist Matthias Maurer, were aboard the Dragon capsule.
Raja Chari, an Indian-origin astronaut, announced ahead of his return that he was “handing over Space Station duties to NASA astronauts from Crew 4.” Crew 3’s return comes less than a week after SpaceX sent Crew 4, which included four more astronauts, to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday for NASA.
“It’s been an interesting day for us. We’ve been flying around the station collecting our last-minute photos or last-minute items and getting ready to come home, so a bit of a bittersweet day for all of us,” Marshburn said in a farewell ceremony as per news agency Reuters.
Hours after returning, Matthias Maurer of the ESA tweeted, “The end of a most beautiful mission – the dream continues”.
Since 2012, California-based SpaceX has launched seven human spaceflights, five for NASA and two for private companies, as well as dozens of cargo and satellite payload missions.
Edited By : Khushi Thakur
Published By : Shubham Ghulaxe