SpaceX ‘s ‘Crew-.3’ mission begins its return to Earth after undocking the Dragon capsule from the International Space Station.
After spending almost three months in space , three American and one German astronauts began their journey back to Earth aboard a SpaceX capsule , whose splashdown off the coast of Florida is scheduled for Thursday night. The Dragon capsule separated from the International Space Station (ISS) at 05:20 GMT on Thursday.
Americans Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, as well as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, will spend a total of almost 24 hours in the space capsule before splashing down at 0443 GMT on Friday.
The vertiginous descent will be stopped by entering the Earth’s atmosphere and then by the deployment of huge parachutes. The capsule will later be rescued by a ship from Elon Musk’s company. Once on board, the hatch will open for the astronauts to exit.
The crew, named Crew-3 , spent the last few days aboard the ISS carrying out handover operations with Crew-4, also made up of four astronauts (three Americans and one Italian). The new crew took off from Florida a week ago, also aboard a SpaceX ship.
Three Russian cosmonauts also remain on the ISS, arriving for their part on a Soyuz rocket. It will be the sixth landing of a manned SpaceX Dragon capsule, which has regularly been transporting astronauts to the ISS for NASA.
Crew-3 members performed various scientific experiments. They studied, for example, how cement hardens in the absence of gravity, something that could be very useful for future construction, for example, on the Moon. In addition, they carried out the second harvest of peppers on board the station. During their stay, they also received the visit of a private mission, made up of three businessmen who paid SpaceX tens of millions of dollars for the trip and stay on the ISS. AFP.