JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An all-private astronaut crew undocked from the space station on Sunday and returned to Earth the next day, splashing down off Florida.
The crew — comprised of Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy — departed the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule at 9:10 p.m. Sunday EDT, according to the mission timeline.
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It’s the same capsule that carried the four astronauts to the space station on April 8 for what would have been eight days of scientific experiments, yet unfavorable weather conditions back at home postponed the undocking and splashdown of the Ax-1 mission multiple times.
The capsule returned to Earth near Jacksonville around 1 p.m. Monday.
“We wish the Axiom 1 crew God speed,” said Tom Mashburn, Crew-3 pilot. “Thanks Mike, L.A. for your leadership as well as commander of the Axiom 1 mission. Safe travels and I hope you have a soft splashdown and calm seas when you get back home.’’
The Axiom crew spent days at the ISS doing experiments on heart health, aging and stem cells.
Meantime, the next team of Commercial Crew astronauts, Crew-4, is prepping to launch.
NASA says it won’t launch Crew-4 until two days after Axiom 1 comes home.
SpaceX said the Crew-4 astronauts did a launch rehearsal this past Wednesday and are ready to go to space.