SpaceX’s Dragon capsule Freedom aces 1st astronaut mission

The primary mission for SpaceX’s latest Dragon crew capsule may hardly have gone extra easily.

The spacecraft, named Freedom, flew SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronaut mission to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) for NASA, which  wrapped up Friday afternoon (Oct. 14) with a splashdown within the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

Freedom’s return to Earth went like clockwork, as did just about the complete mission, NASA and SpaceX representatives mentioned.

Associated: Superb pictures of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission

“From my perspective, watching the car knowledge these 5 and a half months was delightfully boring, whereas the crew obtained to do all of the thrilling work onboard ISS,” Sarah Walker, SpaceX’s director of Dragon mission administration, mentioned throughout a post-splashdown information convention on Friday night. 

“That is precisely how we prefer it,” Walker added. “The Freedom car carried out superbly the entire time, and particularly right this moment on on the day of its return.”

Crew-4 lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 27, carrying NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins and the European Area Company’s Samantha Cristoforetti towards the orbiting lab.

Freedom arrived on the ISS that very same day, and its crewmembers shortly set to work. The Crew-4 astronauts accomplished “over 250 investigations in areas of human analysis technology demonstrations that we’ll want for exploration, in addition to finishing a few of our low Earth orbit commercialization actions,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s ISS program supervisor, mentioned throughout Friday night’s information convention.

The spaceflyers’ journey again to Earth Friday was notable as properly, and never only for its smoothness: Freedom splashed down lower than 5 hours after undocking from the ISS.

“This was truly the quickest return we have finished on a crew mission — on any mission — up to now,” Walker mentioned.

NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, left, Robert Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and ESA (European Area Company) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, proper, are seen contained in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft onboard the SpaceX restoration ship Megan shortly after having landed within the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.  (Picture credit score: NASA)

SpaceX nonetheless has a mission on the ISS, and can for some time; the four-person Crew-5 arrived on Oct. 6 aboard the Dragon Endurance, which additionally flew the corporate’s Crew-3 mission.

Like Crew-5, Crew-6 will make use of a veteran Dragon capsule. That coming mission, which is scheduled to launch subsequent spring, will fly on the spacecraft Endeavour, Steve Stich, supervisor of NASA’s Industrial Crew Program, mentioned throughout Friday’s briefing.

Endeavour flew SpaceX’s first-ever astronaut mission, the Demo-2 flight to the ISS in 2020, in addition to Crew-2 and Axiom SpaceX’s Ax-1 flight. The 17-day-long Ax-1, which came about in April of this yr, was the primary all-private crewed mission to the house station.

Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook in regards to the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).  

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