After roughly six months aboard the International Space Station, the Crew-4 astronauts have returned to Earth, splashing down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, October 14.
Towards the start of this year, NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center assessed the previously flown Dragon Capsule heat shield structure for potential corrosion damage ahead of its flight on Crew-4. They found that corrosion degradation would occur up until launch, but signed off on the reuse of the structure.
NASA has since responded, contradicting our reporting. NASA’s full comment below.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been very successful since its first crewed launch on Demo-2. While reuse is paramount to SpaceX’s mission, the Dragon capsule heat shield has started to cause issues once again that could put astronauts at risk.
The Axiom-I private astronaut mission that launched on April 8 was only supposed to be a ten day journey. After weather delayed their return, the Axiom crew is back on Earth, making way for NASA and ESA astronauts to take their place.
In the early afternoon on Monday, April 18, the Crew-4 Astronauts, three NASA astronauts and an ESA astronaut, arrived at Kennedy Space Center ahead of their launch to the International Space Station scheduled for Saturday morning.