199 days in space: Astronauts of Crew-7 successfully returned to Earth

Four astronauts of SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission successfully returned to Earth on March 12. Thus, the crew completed their six–month stay on the ISS. They were replaced by the Crew-8 team, which arrived at the orbital outpost last week.

The charred body of the Crew Dragon Endurance space capsule. Photo: SpaceX

The Crew Dragon Endurance capsule with Crew-7 splashed down at 5:50 a.m. EDT off the coast of Florida. Rescuers arrived at the capsule about three minutes later, their every step was recorded by thermal imagers. After reaching the safe shore, the astronauts set off on a journey to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they had an affecting meeting.

“After more than six months aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 has safely returned home. This international crew showed that space unites us all. It’s clear that we can do more – we can learn more – when we work together. The science experiments conducted during their time in space will help prepare for NASA’s bold missions at the Moon, Mars, and beyond, all while benefitting humanity here on Earth,” announced NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Descent of the Crew Dragon Endurance capsule by parachute. Photo: SpaceX

The members of the Crew-7, which included NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency, Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Konstantin Borisov, cosmonaut of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, spent 199 days in low Earth orbit. The launch of the mission using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle took place on August 26, 2023, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On March 11, the astronauts began their homecoming.

According to NASA, the international crew covered an impressive distance of 135.8 million km during its mission, making 3,184 orbits around the Earth. The culmination of the Crew-7 flight marks an important milestone for NASA’s Commercial Flight Program. When the spacecraft landed, the crew of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 set off on their own six-month journey, docked at the station on March 5 and began another scientific expedition. 

Earlier, we reported on how the Crew-8 astronauts were accompanied in space by a toy dog.

According to space.com

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