NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown May 2 at 2:56 am EDT off the coast of Panama City, Florida.
The astronauts’ return completed NASA’s first commercial crew, long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station.
“The return comes nearly six months after the crew members arrived at the microgravity laboratory and also marks the longest-duration mission of a crewed American spacecraft to date,” NASA said.
According to NASA, the goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station.
“This has already been proven to provide additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including helping us prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars,” NASA said.
“The next NASA and SpaceX crewed mission is Crew-3, currently targeted for launch no earlier than Oct. 23. Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth Oct. 31, about a week after welcoming their Crew-3 colleagues to the orbiting outpost,” NASA said.