This Wednesday, April 28, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will depart from the International Space Station (ISS) carrying four astronauts on their journey home to Earth.
This will mark the completion of Crew-1, the first crewed mission for the Crew Dragon, and NASA will be airing the departure from the station and the splashdown of the astronauts in the ocean off the coast of Florida.
The four astronauts returning to Earth are NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, plus the Japanese space agency’s Soichi Noguchi. These four were on board the Crew Dragon for its first operational mission launch in November last year, following a successful crewed test flight over the summer.
The four have been living on the ISS since then, participating in projects such as the upgrading of the station’s power system. This has involved a number of spacewalks to prepare the station for new solar arrays which will be fitted later this year. The crew members have worked on many scientific research projects as well, including some fun projects like the growing of radishes in space, which will be important for finding ways to feed astronauts fresh fruits and vegetables in the future.
With all the comings and goings on the ISS recently, the station has been uncommonly busy. A crew of between three and six is typical, but earlier this month there were 10 people on board, and just before the Crew-1 astronauts departed there was a total of 11 people there.
How to watch the return mission
NASA will be livestreaming the departure of the Crew Dragon from the space station, including continuous coverage of the hatch closure, the undocking of the craft, and its splashdown off the coast of Florida. You can tune into NASA TV either using the embedded video above or by going to NASA’s website to see the coverage as it happens.
The times set for the events on Wednesday, April 28 are as follows (all times in ET):
- 4:45 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 5 a.m. hatch closure
- 6:45 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for the 7:05 a.m. undocking
- 12:40 p.m. – Splashdown
There will also be a news conference at 2:30 p.m. ET featuring representatives from NASA and SpaceX to talk about the return journey and the work done by the crew on the space station. This will be televised on NASA TV as well.