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Crew-3 astronauts splash down safely following 6-month ISS mission

The four astronauts of the Crew-3 mission have returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station, splashing down in their SpaceX Crew Dragon craft on Friday, May 6. The splashdown at 12:43 a.m. ET in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida brought the crew’s 177-day mission to space to an end.

The crew members included three NASA astronauts, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, who were taken onto SpaceX recovery vessels and then to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthais Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft.
From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX Shannon recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, Friday, May 6, 2022. Maurer, Marshburn, Chari, and Barron are returning after 177 days in space as part of Expeditions 66 and 67 aboard the International Space Station. NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

“NASA’s partnership with SpaceX has again empowered us to deliver a crew safely to the space station and back, enabling groundbreaking science that will help our astronauts travel farther out into the cosmos than ever before. This mission is just one more example that we are truly in the golden era of commercial spaceflight,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. “Kayla, Raja, Tom, and Matthias, thank you for your service and welcome home!”

The four astronauts undocked from the International Space Station at 1:05 a.m. on May 5. You can see footage of the splashdown in the video below:

The four had arrived at the space station on November 11, 2021, on a Dragon spacecraft named Endurance which remained docked to the Harmony module’s forward space station port. During the almost six-month mission, according to NASA, the crew traveled 75,060,792 miles and completed 2,832 orbits around Earth.

The crew completed three spacewalks during their stay, primarily as part of the ongoing process of upgrading the space station’s power system by installing new solar arrays. They also conducted scientific research, including working on experiments on growing plants in space without soil by using hydroponic and aeroponic methods, into how astronaut’s eyes change during space missions, and whether fiber optics can be manufactured in microgravity.

Remaining on the space station are members of Expedition 67 including three Russian cosmonauts, plus three NASA astronauts and one ESA astronaut who form the recently-arrived Crew-4.

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