Four commercial crew astronauts representing NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check aboard the ISS. Reuters
The third long-duration astronaut team launched by SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS) safely returned to Earth early on Friday, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida to end months of orbital research ranging from space-grown chilies to robots.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying three U.S. NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency (ESA) crewmate from Germany parachuted into calm seas in darkness at the conclusion of a 23-hour-plus autonomous flight home from the ISS, Reuters reported on Friday.
The splashdown, at about 12:45 a.m. EDT (UAE time 8.45 PM Thursday), was carried live by a joint NASA-SpaceX webcast.
The Endurance crew, which began its stay in orbit on 11th November, consisted of American spaceflight veteran Tom Marshburn, 61, and three first-time astronauts - NASA's Raja Chari, 44, and Kayla Barron, 34, and their ESA colleague Matthias Maurer, 52.
Camera shots from inside the crew compartment showed the astronauts strapped into their seats, garbed in helmeted white-and-black spacesuits. It was expected to take splashdown-response teams about an hour to reach the capsule bobbing in the water, hoist it onto the deck of a recovery vessel and open the hatch to let the astronauts out for their first breath of fresh air in nearly six months.
The newly returned astronauts were officially designated as NASA's "Commercial Crew 3," the third full-fledged, long-duration team of four that SpaceX has flown to the space station under contract for the U.S. space agency.
SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of electric carmaker Tesla Inc who recently clinched a deal to buy Twitter, supplies the Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules now flying NASA astronauts to orbit from U.S. soil.
The company also controls those flights and handles the splashdown recoveries, while NASA furnishes the crews and launch facilities at the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and manages U.S. space station operations.
California-based SpaceX has launched seven human spaceflights in all over the past two years - five for NASA and two for private ventures - as well as dozens of cargo and satellite payload missions since 2012.
UAE leaders took to social media to congratulate Hazzaa Al Mansoori on his safe return to earth after spending eight days at ISS.
"We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. "For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer programme, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”
"We'll take those miles,” said spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. "Are they transferrable?” SpaceX replied that the astronauts would have to check with the company's
India is looking to take a giant leap in its space programme and solidify its place among the world's spacefaring nations with its second unmanned mission to the moon, this one aimed at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole.
A Falcon rocket raced into the pre-dawn darkness, carrying a Dragon capsule with 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of goods. This recycled Dragon — which is making its second space trip — is due to arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday.
Air travel from UAE to India is skyrocketing and is certain to create a big hole in travellers’ pockets.As schools close for summer vacations and Eid Al Adha is around the corner airlines have increased the fare by almost around 50%.
The cloud took an amazing shape, like a small child riding a bird, at the time when the sun was setting on Friday.
Saleh Al Ameri said, “I am proud of the mission's success, and I am proud to present this achievement to our wise leadership.”