NASA’s Crew-2 Returns

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, left, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Aki Hoshide, right, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is the second operational mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Monday November 8th at 10:30 PM Est Off Pensacola Florida

Late Monday evening NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts made quite an entry into the Gulf of Mexico. Their fiery capsule, Endeavour burning like a shooting star was seen from Texas, Florida, even Louisiana as they came in to splash down off the Coast of Pensacola Florida. At one hundred ninety nine days in orbit the agency’s second long duration commercial crew mission to the International Space Station now holds the record for the longest spaceflight by a U.S. crewed spacecraft. This record was previously held by the members of Crew-1 at one hundred sixty eight days earlier this year. Their capsule, Endeavour also now has a total of two hundred and sixty days in orbit, a record for a SpaceX dragon capsule.

Crew-2 with the four main chutes deployed. Image credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, JAXA Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet departed from the Kennedy Space Center back on April 23rd of this year aboard their Falcon 9 rocket. Nearly twenty-four hours later they docked with the ISS. Since the start of their mission these astronauts contributed to a load of science and maintenance activities, scientific investigations, and technology demonstrations. Also completing four spacewalks, and multiple public engagement events while in orbit. They studied how gaseous flames behave in microgravity, grew green chiles, and installed a free flying robotic assistant. They also took hundreds of pictures, which many of us looked forward to Thomas Pesquet sharing on his social media platforms.

Over the course of their almost two hundred days they traveled 84,653,119 statute miles, completing 3,194 orbits around our Earth. This Crew-2 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which has worked with the U.S. aerospace industry to send astronauts on American rockets and spacecrafts from American soil to the International Space Station. Now that They are safely back the capsule Endeavour will return to Cape Canaveral for inspection and processing to SpaceX’s Dragon Lair where teams will examine the crafts data and performance through out the mission. This Dragon return comes just before the launch of Crew-3, which will happen on November 10th, 2021. Due to foul weather NASA and SpaceX decided to delay the launch of Crew-3 in favor of Returning Crew-2 home first. Once launched the members of Crew-3 will stay aboard the space station until April of 2022 when Crew-4 will switch out with them.