Private-sector space travelers have concluded their extended stay at the space station and have returned to Earth.

Private-sector space travelers have concluded their extended stay at the space station and have returned to Earth.

84 days in orbit

A privately chartered Crew Dragon capsule reentered the atmosphere and landed in the waters off Florida’s east coast on Friday, concluding a journey of 84 days in orbit for four astronauts.

A prolonged period of time spent on the International Space Station..

With commander Michael López-Alegría and Italian co-pilot Walter Villadei monitoring cockpit displays, flanked by Swedish flier Marcus Wandt and Turkey’s Alper Gezeravci, the Crew Dragon’s braking rockets fired at 7:42 a.m. EST, slowing the ship just enough to drop the far side of its orbit deep into the atmosphere.

The Ax-3 Crew Dragon descends to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida near Daytona Beach to close out an extended 22-day mission.


The Crew Dragon’s heat shield was able to shield the craft from temperatures exceeding 3,000 degrees as it rapidly slowed down while traveling on a southwest-to-northeast path through Central America and the Florida peninsula, due to atmospheric friction.

On January 18, López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut, along with Villadei, Wandt, and Gezeravci, launched from the Kennedy Space Center with the intention of spending two weeks on the station. They were scheduled to return to Earth on February 3.

However, strong winds in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean at the splashdown locations resulted in the crew staying in orbit for an extra six days. They undocked on Wednesday and spent almost two days flying on their own to adjust their trajectory for the re-entry on Friday.

The journey to the splashdown seemed to be successful, allowing NASA and SpaceX to continue with two important missions while also completing numerous Starlink launches.

Ax-3 commander Michael López-Alegría is all smiles as he’s helped out of the Crew Dragon and onto the deck of the recovery ship Shannon.


5:21 a.m. (ET)
On February 14th at 5:21 a.m. Eastern Time, SpaceX is scheduled to launch.robotic moon lander

This project, funded by NASA and constructed by Intuitive Machines of Houston, aims to gather data on conditions near the lunar south pole as the agency continues its progress.astronaut landings

in the coming years.

After successfully launching the initial mission, SpaceX will then prepare for another launch of a Falcon 9 rocket at the end of the month from the same pad at Kennedy Space Center. This launch will transport four crew members to the International Space Station for an extended stay.

Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps, and Alexander Grebenkin will be joining Jasmin Moghbeli, Andreas Mogensen, Satoshi Furukawa, and Konstantin Borisov on the ISS. They will also be joining Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Loral O’Hara from NASA.

Crew 7 was launched last August

SpaceX was followed by Kononenko, Chub, and O’Hara.last September

On a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Moghbeli and her fellow astronauts are scheduled to depart from the ISS and return home in the beginning of March. Afterwards, the ISS team will wait for a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to arrive in late March, carrying experienced cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, guest astronaut Marina Vasilevskaya from Belarus, and NASA veteran Tracy Dyson.

On April 2, Novitskiy, Vasilevskaya, and O’Hara will come back to Earth while Dyson remains on the ISS with Kononenko and Chub, who are completing a one-year mission in space. Dyson will later join them for their return to Earth in September.