Sunday, May 2, 2021

Spacecraft lands off Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Four astronauts in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule safely splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico off the Panama City coast early Sunday, wrapping up their six-month mission to the International Space Station. After departing the night before, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker descemded into the Gulf of Mexico under four main parachutes at 1:57 a.m. CDT. The capsule slowed from 17,000 mph in orbit to 16 mph at splashdown. SpaceX boats stationed near Panama City swarmed the capsule Resilience for recovery. It was the first night landing since 1968, when three astronauts of Apollo 8, the first to orbit the moon, returned to Earth. The astronauts' safe return marks the end to NASA and SpaceX's landmark mission, Crew-1, which set a record as the longest time in space, over 5 months, by a crew that launched aboard an American-built spacecraft. After transport to Panama City via helicopter, Crew-1 will fly to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for a short quarantine period and more detailed medical checkouts. (Sources: multiple, including USA Today, CNN, New York Times, 05/02/21) Previous related