SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts hope to leave space station March 9
Crew-5 will soon complete an eventful half year in space.
The SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts will begin their journey back to Earth after lifting off from the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:05 pm EST (2205 GMT) on Thursday (March 9), NASA said in a statement. journalists today. . The crew will then land at 21:25 EST (0125 GMT the next day) on Friday (March 10).
“NASA and SpaceX continue to assess the weather for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission from the International Space Station,” NASA wrote. “Crews held a weather briefing overnight and decided to abandon the initial release possibility of early Thursday, March 9, due to strong winds at the spray sites. Crews are currently aiming for release no earlier than Thursday evening, weather permitting.”
It’s the latest in a series of interesting events for Crew-5.
“The universe started throwing curveballs our way and then it got really crazy,” NASA astronaut Josh Cassada said during a farewell live broadcast in orbit today (March 8) reflecting on Crew’s six-month mission -5. During their time at the orbital laboratory, two spacecraft docked to the ISS experienced coolant leaks (a Soyuz crew capsule and a Progress cargo ship, both Russian), and the orbital complex had to dodge space debris several times. However, everything is fixed in time for Crew-5’s departure.
Cassada thanked the teams at Mission Control and around the world for helping the crew resolve these issues. “We could not have begun to solve these problems without your support,” he said.
Related: Auroras, spacecraft modes and more: SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts reflect on their time in orbit
SpaceX Crew-5 members are expected to splash down soon. Clockwise from left are Expedition 68 Flight Engineers Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann of NASA, and Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.) (Image credit: NASA )
Crew-5 launched on October 5, 2022 with the first few flights into space. NASA’s Nicole Mann, a member of the Wailacki Indian tribes of Round Valley in northern California, was the first Native American woman in space. Cosmonaut Anna Kikina was the first Russian to board a SpaceX spacecraft, while Koichi Wakata began a record fifth space flight for a single Japanese astronaut.
NASA’s Josh Cassada also made his mark on Crew-5 by helping install the first emergency seat on the SpaceX Endeavor spacecraft, made when Expedition 68 crewmate Frank Rubio temporarily missed a trip to home due to a coolant leak in his Soyuz. (Rubio is now safely ensconced in a new Soyuz, called MS-23, and will leave the ISS in September along with two Russian colleagues.)
A Progress freighter also suffered a coolant leak last month; both that and the Soyuz leak were unrelated events resulting from micrometeoroid impacts, according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Case management requires flexibility. Soyuz MS-23’s launch date was changed several times as Roscosmos investigated the delay, first being delayed in March and then moved to a quick liftoff on February 23, days after it was cleared to launch.
Related: SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts arrive at space station after hour-long delay
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata during a spacewalk on February 2, 2022 during Expedition 68, serving the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)
Crew-5 is now undertaking a handover period following the arrival of Crew-6, which arrived at the orbital complex on Friday (March 3) with four crew members aboard its SpaceX spacecraft, named Endeavour. Crew-5’s six-month mission included more than 200 experiments and six spacewalks, although some of the excursions involved other members of Expedition 68 arriving aboard other spacecraft.
First-time astronaut Kikina, speaking in English, said her time in space passed “as a blur” and that she “will remember it [mission] like a dream again.” She wished the future crews a similarly meaningful time in orbit and also thanked the ground crews. “It’s great to feel alive, in that way, and I mean very, very much: thank you . “
Wakata, who has accumulated nearly a year in space on his five missions, called the end of this mission “bittersweet,” adding, “It was a real pleasure working with you, and I’ve been a really lucky to have been able. to work with this super crew.”
Mann, the commander of Crew-5, paid tribute to her crew and support teams: “Whenever we ran into a challenge, we had a solution between the crew or between the people on the ground. We had each other’s backs.”
This story was updated at 3:13 p.m. EDT to reflect new information about the shutdown.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow him on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).