After a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the company’s Dragon “Endurance” spacecraft splashed down off the coast of Florida on Saturday night.
The four occupants of the capsule were Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann of NASA, Koichi Wakata of Japan, and Anna Kikina of Russia.
Historic NASA and SpaceX MIssion
On this historic ISS cycle, the four crew members of NASA spent 157 days together in space. Mann, a member of the Wailaki tribe, made history as the first Native American woman in space during the Crew-5 mission, as reported by Space.com.
With tensions between the United States and Russia rising over the conflict in Ukraine, this mission marked the first time a Russian cosmonaut had flown on a private US spacecraft.
On this mission, Wakata set a new Japanese record with his fifth space return. That was Endurance’s second orbital mission after returning the Crew-3 crew safely to Earth last November.
After completing its mission, the spaceship will head back to SpaceX’s Dragon Lair in Florida for maintenance and inspections before its next mission.
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who arrived at the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-22, which developed a coolant leak after apparently being hit by a micrometeoroid, could not make the trip.
Once Roscomos concluded MS-22 could only safely transport two people, the Endurance crew made temporary modifications to their vehicle so that Rubio could ride along in the event of an emergency evacuation of the ISS.
Once Russia had deployed a replacement Soyuz spacecraft to send Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin down to Earth, the alterations were undone.
To read our blog on “NASA’s new crews of astronauts successfully sent to ISS by SpaceX,” click here.