Four astronauts return to Earth aboard a SpaceX capsule

After almost six months in space, three American astronauts and a German have started their return journey to Earth on board a SpaceX capsule, which is scheduled to land overnight off Florida from Thursday to Friday.

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The Dragon capsule separated from the International Space Station (ISS) at 01:20 US Eastern Time (05:20 GMT).

Americans Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer will have to spend a total of almost 24 hours aboard the capsule before they set sail at 00:43 (04:43) on Friday be able. 43 GMT).


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The dizzying descent is slowed by entry into Earth’s atmosphere and then by giant parachutes. The capsule is then picked up by a ship belonging to Elon Musk’s company and hoisted aboard, finally opened to let the astronauts out.

This crew, called Crew-3, spent their last days aboard the ISS to perform the handover with Crew-4, which also consisted of four astronauts (three Americans and one Italian). The latter also flew from Florida with SpaceX about a week ago.

There are currently three Russians on board the ISS, who arrived on a Russian Soyuz rocket for departure.


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It is the sixth landing of a manned Dragon capsule for SpaceX, which now regularly transports astronauts to the ISS on behalf of NASA.

Matthias Maurer is the twelfth German to fly into orbit. Chancellor Olaf Scholz wished him “a safe journey home” on Twitter and emphasized his work “and all the new discoveries in space”.

Crew-3 members conducted several scientific experiments. For example, they investigated how cement hardens in zero gravity – which could be important for future constructions on the moon, for example. And performed the second pepper harvest aboard the station.

During their stay, they also received a visit from a private mission, including three businessmen who had each paid tens of millions of dollars to spend two weeks aboard the ISS – still transported by SpaceX.

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