In news: Crew Dragon spacecraft recently brought back to the Earth four astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS), landing on water in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
About the landing-
- A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts back to Earth splashed down off Florida in NASA’s first nighttime ocean landing in more than 50 years.
- The last nighttime splashdown for NASA was when the crew of Apollo 8 arrived in the Pacific Ocean on December 27, 1968.
- Commander Michael Hopkins was the first to emerge after the hatch was opened followed shortly after by fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover.
- NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi were the other two aboard.
- The four astronauts went to space last November as the crew on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a vehicle made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
- They traveled 71.2 million miles (114.6 million kilometres) during their 168 days in orbit (including 167 days aboard the space station).
- As of now seven astronauts have remained on the ISS including a new crew of four who arrived on a different SpaceX craft recently.
- It is the second crewed operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and its third overall crewed orbital flight.
- The mission was launched on 23 April 2021.
- It used the same capsule as Demo-2 (Endeavour) and used the same booster as Crew-1 (B1061.1).
- Crew 2 team consists of two NASA astronauts – mission commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur along with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet, a French engineer of the European Space Agency.
- It is the second “operational” space station team launched by NASA aboard a Dragon Crew capsule since the US resumed flying astronauts into space from US soil in 2020, following a nine-year hiatus at the end of the US space shuttle program in 2011