SpaceX’s capsule carrying 4 astronauts returned to Earth

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule carrying US astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and astronaut Soiçi Noguçi from the Japan Space Research Agency (JAXA) landed off Panama City in Florida, USA after a 6.5-hour journey.

The astronauts stayed 167 days on the International Space Station (ISS).

The US Aerospace Agency (NASA) stated on April 28 that it was decided to delay the flight of the Crew Dragon shuttle, which will carry 4 astronauts to Earth, due to bad weather conditions.

SpaceX is transporting astronauts to the ISS with the Crew Dragon shuttle as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Services program.

The company carried out an unmanned test flight called “Demo-1”, then carried two astronauts to the station in May 2020 with a manned test flight called “Demo-2”.

SpaceX delivered its 4-person astronaut team to the ISS in November 2020 as part of the mission it called “Crew-1”.

The “Crew-1 mission” was the first manned voyage to space from the US after NASA ended its Space Shuttle program in 2011.

Astronauts and cosmonauts at the ISS were previously transported by Russian-made “Soyuz” shuttles, as NASA stopped producing personnel shuttles.

6 crew members take turns on the ISS

A joint project of NASA, ESA, JAXA, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, ISS has 6 crew members from different countries taking turns working.

Within the scope of NASA’s “Commercial Supply Services” program, American companies Northrop Grumman “Cygnus” and SpaceX transport supplies to ISS with cargo shuttles named “Dragon”.

As part of the “Commercial Crew Development Program”, the US Boeing company also makes test flights with “CST-100 Starliner” space shuttles to transport personnel to ISS.