SpaceX’s Crew-1 astronauts will get to spend a few extra days in space.
NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), were due to undock from the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft early on Wednesday, April 28, splashing down later in the day in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
But a forecast for strong winds prompted Mission Control to postpone the return as it was feared the conditions could hamper the recovery effort.
The astronauts are now expected to land in the Gulf of Mexico at 11:36 a.m. ET on Saturday, May 1. Digital Trends has full and updated details on how you can watch the entire event, from the undocking procedure the day before all the way to Saturday’s splashdown.
Following a review of the weather forecast in splashdown zones, the departure of NASA’s @SpaceX Crew-1 mission from the @Space_Station is now targeted for Fri., Apr. 30, with return to Earth Sat., May 1: https://t.co/vzxLvF0yWc pic.twitter.com/K50DbInyft
— NASA (@NASA) April 27, 2021
Despite the Crew-1 astronauts staying on board for a little longer than expected, the space station stuck to its schedule for handing over command, with Shannon Walker of NASA passing responsibilities to JAXA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-2 member Akihiko Hoshide in a special event that took place on Tuesday, April 27.
Hoshide arrived at the space station with the other Crew-2 astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet — on Saturday, April 24, with the crew set to live and work on the space-based laboratory for the next six months.
Crew-1 launched to the International Space Station in November 2020 and is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which worked with the U.S. aerospace industry to return launches with astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.
It follows the successful test mission in May 2020, when NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew to the space station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, safely returning several months later. The Demo-2 mission marked the first astronaut launch and landing in U.S. territory since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.