NASA and SpaceX Announce Delay In Return to Earth for Crew-1 Astronauts

NASA and SpaceX Announce Delay In Return to Earth for Crew-1 Astronauts

The astronauts that went with SpaceX’s first operational mission for NASA will have to wait a little longer than expected before returning home from the International Space Station as a result of bad weather at their splashdown site. 

The four Crew-1 astronauts of NASA were initially scheduled to return to Earth on Wednesday, April 28, on their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to make a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. However, bad weather, especially high winds, has forced NASA and SpaceX to delay the landing to Saturday, May 1, 2021, with the splashdown targeted for 11:36 a.m. EDT (1536 GMT).

NASA and SpaceX agreed to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Wednesday, April 28, following a review of forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which currently predict wind speeds above the recovery criteria,”  NASA officials said in a statement. “Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of Friday’s planned undocking.”

The SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission for NASA was launched on November 15, marking the first operational crewed flight on a commercial Crew Dragon spacecraft. The crew landed at the station a day later to ferry NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the orbiting laboratory. 

SpaceX had launched its second crew change flight for NASA last week. Called Crew-2, the project will fly four more astronauts to the station. The astronauts arrived on Saturday, April 24, as a relief team for the Crew-1 space flyers. 

The SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience team is expected to splashdown in one of seven sites off the Atlantic coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico, the exact site is dependent on weather, when it returns the Crew-1 astronauts to Earth. 

The splashdown postponement to Saturday means that Resilience will now undock from the space station on Friday (April 30) at 5:55 p.m. EDT (2155 GMT). NASA’s live coverage of undocking will begin at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT) on Friday and continue through splashdown and a post-landing press conference.

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