SpaceX Makes First Nighttime Splashdown With Astronauts Since 1968

Crew-1, which launched to the space station in November, left the space station in the capsule called Resilience.

The New York Times
May 4, 2021

In dark­ness, four astro­nauts splashed down ear­ly Sun­day morn­ing in the Gulf of Mex­i­co near Pana­ma City, Fla.

That marked a suc­cess­ful end of a mis­sion for NASA led by a pri­vate com­pa­ny, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to take its astro­nauts to and from the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. It was the first of what the space agency calls an oper­a­tional mission.

Half a year ago, a SpaceX rock­et lift­ed off with the four astro­nauts — three from NASA, one from Japan’s space agency — who were sit­ting inside one of the company’s Crew Drag­on cap­sules. On Sun­day, the same cap­sule, named Resilience, safe­ly returned to Earth, just before 3 a.m. East­ern time.

We wel­come you back to plan­et Earth, and thanks for fly­ing SpaceX,” Michael Heiman, a SpaceX mis­sion con­trol offi­cial, told the astro­nauts. “For those of you enrolled in our fre­quent fli­er pro­gram, you have earned 68 mil­lion miles on this voyage.”

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