Washington, May 1 (MNN) NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission is now targeting a return to Earth no earlier than about 2.57 am EDT on Sunday, May 2, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 8.35 pm on May 1, to begin the journey home.
NASA and SpaceX decided to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from April 30 and May 1 respectively after a review of the forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which predicted wind speeds above the return criteria.
NASA said that Crew Dragon was in great health on the space station, and teams now forecast ideal conditions for both splashdown and recovery during the weekend.
The return to Earth – and activities leading up to the return – will air live on NASA Television, NASA App, and the agency’s website.
Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of planned undocking.
On April 25, NASA had announced that it will provide live coverage of the return activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission from the International Space Station, the space agency has said.
Crew-1 mission has NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Crew-1 is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Programme, which worked with the US aerospace industry to return launches with astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.
In advance of departure from the space station, Crew-1 astronaut and station Commander Shannon Walker of NASA will hand over command of the station to JAXA astronaut and Crew-2 member Akihiko Hoshide during a change of command and farewell event.
The Crew Dragon will autonomously undock, depart the space station, and splash down at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
Resilience also will return to Earth important and time-sensitive research. For normal crew rescue and recovery operations, the NASA and SpaceX teams select two primary splashdown locations from the seven possible locations about two weeks prior to return, with additional decision milestones taking place prior to crew boarding the spacecraft, during free flight, and before Crew Dragon performs a deorbit burn.
NASA and SpaceX closely coordinate with the US Coast Guard to establish a 10-nautical-mile safety zone around the expected splashdown location to ensure safety for the public and for those involved in the recovery operations, as well as the crew aboard the returning spacecraft.