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How to watch homecoming SpaceX astronauts fly overhead on Tuesday

SpaceX’s Crew-7 astronauts undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:20 a.m. ET on Monday after a six-and-a-half-month stay aboard the orbital outpost.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov are expected to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico at around 5:50 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning. If the skies are clear, folks in more than a dozen states will be able to witness the crew’s homecoming as the capsule flies overhead.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft will come into view as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere at high speed over Wyoming at about 5:36 a.m. ET. It’ll also pass over parts of other states, including South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Chris Sembroski, who traveled to orbit on SpaceX’s first all-civilian mission in 2021, reposted a map from NASA showing the expected viewing opportunities on Tuesday morning:

There’s nothing quite like screaming through the atmosphere surrounded by streaks of plasma as the sound of rushing wind slowly builds to a roar, while feeling the squeeze of 4G’s pressing you deep into your seat. Then 🪂, and all is calm. 🚀🌎🐉 Godspeed #Crew7! Welcome home! https://t.co/F8sy47uU0P

— Chris “Hanks” Sembroski 🇺🇦 (@ChrisSembroski) March 12, 2024

NASA warned space fans to stay well away from the landing zone in the Gulf of Mexico. “For these operations, the United States Coast Guard, in coordination with SpaceX and NASA, establishes a safety zone to ensure public safety and for the safety of those involved in the recovery operations, as well as the crew onboard the returning spacecraft,” the agency said in a social media post. “Multiple notices are issued to the Mariners in advance and during recovery operations, and Coast Guard patrol assets may be deployed to discourage boaters from entering the splashdown zones.”

It added: “Recovering a spacecraft from the water is a hazardous operation and any other boats interfering increases risk to the astronauts in the capsule, the teams working to recover them from the water, and the safety of those that come too close.”

For those unable to witness the Crew Dragon’s homecoming in person, NASA will also live-stream the crew’s return on its YouTube channel. The broadcast begins at 4:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday and will include communications between the astronauts and Mission Control, as well as a video of the spacecraft as it heads toward the landing zone.

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Trevor Mogg
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