Miami, Mar 11 (EFE).- The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft carrying NASA’s Crew-5 astronauts on board safely returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) late Saturday.
Endurance splashed down at 9:02 pm EST in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Tampa, Florida, NASA said.
Aboard the spacecraft are NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who spent 157 days in space.
“Teams on the Shannon recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort,” NASA said.
The recovery ship will hoist the spacecraft onto the main deck of Shannon with the astronauts inside.
Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before being transported via helicopter to Tampa, where they will board a plane to Houston.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft began its journey from the ISS at 2:20 am EST on Saturday, a few minutes later than scheduled.
NASA delayed the return flight due to unfavorable weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Crew-5 mission arrived at the space station on Oct. 6, following a 30-hour voyage that began in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The four Crew-5 specialists with the fifth manned mission undertaken jointly by NASA and SpaceX, performed more than 200 scientific experiments and technological tests along with carrying out assorted research projects during their stay.
Crew-5 was replaced on Mar. 3 by the Crew-6 mission – made up of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, along with UAE and Russian astronauts, Sultan Al Neyadi and Andrey Fedyaev respectively – which arrived on the ISS on that day for a six-month stay. EFE