The crew-1 astronauts have returned from the International Space Station. The US space agency NASA announced that four astronauts have reached home safely from the revolving laboratory. The four were part of NASA and SpaceX’s commercial crew program. It was the first operational crewed flight of a Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is a private aerospace agency based in California. It was the first of six crewed missions. NASA and SpaceX have entered into a contract to launch six such missions as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The three of the four men who returned include three of NASA’s. They are Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker. The fourth astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, is linked to JAXA.
The spacecraft was launched in November 2020. It was launched atop on a Falcon 9 rocket. All the four returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown. They landed off the coast of Panama City in Florida on May 4. NASA said that the returnees were taken to Houston. NASA chief Bill Nelson welcomed the four and congratulated the teams of the agency and SpaceX for the successful landing. He noted that the return of crew-1 astronauts marks an incredible spaceflight for the country’s space program and its international and commercial partners. He said that developing a safe and reliable transportation system is the vision of NASA. He added that the safety of astronauts was at the core when NASA embarked on the commercial crew program.
The four astronauts spent six months at the ISS. According to NASA, this is the longest-duration mission ever by a crewed American spacecraft. The previous longest-duration by an American crewed spacecraft lasted for a little more than 84 days. The record was set by the Skylab crew in 1974. NASA said that the four traveled 71,242,199 statute miles. They stayed in orbit for 168 days. They completed 2,688 orbits around Earth aboard the ISS. The splashdown of crew-1 also marks the first night return of an American crewed spacecraft since Apollo 8’s predawn return 50 years ago in the Pacific Ocean. NASA added that crew-1 astronauts undertook crucial scientific investigations and demonstrated space technologies. Their return comes days after the launch of the crew-2 mission.