NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts have returned safely to Earth aboard the Dragon Endurance spacecraft, completing their voyage to the International Space Station.

NASASpaceX Crew-3 astronauts aboard the Dragon Endurance spacecraft landed safely on Friday, May 26, 2022, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Crew-3 astronauts include NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer. This landing marks the completion of ESA’s third long-term trade mission to the International Space Station. The international crew of four spent a total of 177 days in orbit.

Who are the astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3?

The astronauts of SpaceX Crew-3 returned to Earth by parachuting at 00:43 EDT. Teams aboard the SpaceX lifeboats rebuilt the spacecraft and astronauts. Once back ashore, the astronauts will fly back to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“NASA’s partnership with SpaceX has once again enabled us to safely deliver crew to the space station and back, allowing for innovative science that will help our astronauts travel farther into space than ever before. This mission is just another example that we are truly in the golden age of commercial space flight, “said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Kayla, Raja, Tom and Matthias, thank you for your service and welcome home.”

From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matais Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron see each other on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft aboard the SpaceX Shannon lifeboat shortly after landing in the shores of Tampa, Florida, Friday, May 6, 2022. Maurer, Marshburn, Chari, and Barron return to space in 177 days as part of Expeditions 66 and 67 aboard the International Space Station. (NASA / Aubrey Gemini)

The Crew-3 mission

The Crew-3 mission launched on November 10, 2021 with a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Nearly 24 hours after takeoff, November 11, Endurance docks at the front port of the Harmony space station. The astronauts left the same port at 1:05 a.m. on May 5, 2022, to begin their journey home.

Barron, Charry, Marshburn and Maurer traveled 75,060,792 miles during their mission, spent 175 days aboard the space station and completed 2,832 orbits around the Earth. Marshburn spent 339 days in space for his three flights. The Crew-3 mission was the first space flight for Barron, Charm and Maurer.

Space travel

During their mission, the astronauts of SpaceX Crew-3 contributed to many scientific and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. In addition, they conducted three space walks to maintain the station and upgrade it outside the space station. This brought the total number of space trips to Marshburn to five, while Charlie and Barron completed two and Maurer one.

Mission goals

The Crew-3 mission is based on previous work examining how fibers grow in microgravity. SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts used hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth material, captured images of their retinas as part of an investigation that could automatically detect changes in astronauts’ eyes in space in the future, and demonstrated of technology that provides measurements of biological indicators related to diseases and infections, among many other research.

Astronauts have taken hundreds of pictures of Earth as part of Observation of the Earth by the crew investigation, one of the longest-running investigations aboard the space station, which helps track natural disasters and changes in our home planet.

The Dragon Endurance spacecraft will return to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, where teams will verify the spacecraft’s data and characteristics during the flight.

NASA’s Merchant Crew Program

The Crew-3 flight is part of NASA’s commercial crew program, and its return to Earth follows the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4, which docks at the station on April 27, launching another scientific expedition.

The goal of NASA’s commercial crew program is safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This has already led to additional research time and increased the ability to find aboard humanity’s microgravity stand for research, including helping NASA prepare for human exploration of the moon and Mars.

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SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts return safely to Earth

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