SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule splashes down off Florida coast

Crew-2 has been on the station since April

NASA officials said The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed down off the Florida coast at 10:33 p.m. on Monday.

The Crew-2 flight returned to Earth with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

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SpaceX said the Crew-2 astronauts spent 199 days in orbit. Officials said this is the first United States spacecraft to hit this mark.

“Endeavour will undock autonomously and perform a fly around maneuver to photograph the exterior of the International Space Station. Once the maneuver is completed, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will aim for a splashdown at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida,” NASA wrote on its blog before the splashdown.

Crew-2 has been on the station since April, nearing the end of their Dragon’s 210-day certification for spaceflight.

NASA is also targeting the launch of Crew-3 no earlier than 9:03 p.m. Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center.

The Crew-3 flight will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander; Tom Marshburn, pilot; and Kayla Barron, mission specialist; as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, to the space station for a six-month science mission, staying aboard until about late April 2022.

Last week, SpaceX and NASA flipped the order of the launch and landing because of the deteriorating weather and the looming deadline to get the capsule back from the space station. SpaceX capsules are certified for a maximum 210 days in orbit, and the one up there now is approaching 200 days.

About the Authors:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.