Crew-3 safely returns to Earth shortly before another Starlink launch

In the early morning on May 6, the Crew-3 astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico after a six month stay aboard the International Space Station. Then, just a few hours later, SpaceX launched yet another batch of Starlink satellites.

Crew-3 returns home

Back in November of last year, the Crew-3 astronauts entered the brand new Crew Dragon Endurance for their launch to the International Space Station. While aboard the station, the crew was joined by cosmonauts, private astronauts, and, most recently, another operational crew of astronauts on Crew-4.

With the next operational Crew settled aboard the station, it was time for Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn, and mission specialists Matthias Maurer and Kayla Barron to return home.

Crew Dragon Endurance undocked from the International Space Station on May 5 and splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico in the early morning on May 6.

While aboard the orbiting laboratory for 175 days, the crew members performed valuable science experiments and continued on the upkeep of the station.

The experiments ranged from the studying of flames and plants in microgravity to testing robotic companions and growing our understanding of material sciences.

NASA’s partnership with SpaceX has again empowered us to deliver a crew safely to the space station and back, enabling groundbreaking science that will help our astronauts travel farther out into the cosmos than ever before. This mission is just one more example that we are truly in the golden era of commercial spaceflight. Kayla, Raja, Tom, and Matthias, thank you for your service and welcome home!

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

Just a few hours after the safe return of the Crew-3 astronauts, SpaceX was at it again. Shortly before 6 a.m. ET this morning, the company launched 53 more Starlink satellites from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.

The mission was Starlink Group 4-17, and it launched on the twelfth flight of Falcon 9 booster B1058. B1058 is the famous “worm booster” that first launched NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on the Demo-2 mission.

Featured Image Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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