JACKSONVILLE, Florida -NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down Friday off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, after completing the agency’s fourth commercial crew mission to the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 4:55 p.m. EDT.
Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels retrieved the spacecraft and astronauts. After returning to shore, all astronauts will fly to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cristoforetti then will board a plane to Europe.
The Crew-4 mission launched at 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Less than 16 hours later, Dragon docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. The astronauts undocked from the same port at 12:05 p.m. Friday, to begin the trip home.
Throughout their mission, the Crew-4 astronauts contributed to a host of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. Cristoforetti completed two spacewalks with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev to perform station maintenance and upgrades.
The spacecraft, named Freedom by Crew-4, will return to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight.