Crew-7 Splashes Down

Crew-7 Splashes Down

Four international astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico early this morning completing a six month mission to the International Space Station. Crew-7 consists of astronauts from NASA, ESA, JAXA and Roscosmos, the first time for a NASA mission where all four crew members hail from different countries.

Jasmin Moghbeli (NASA), Andreas Mogensen (ESA), Satoshi Furukawa (JAXA), and Konstantin Borisov (Roscosmos) splashed down in darkness at 5:47:44 am ET near Pensacola, FL. Infrared cameras captured deployment of the main parachutes and splashdown.

Crew-7 under parachutes, March 12, 2024. Screengrab.


Crew-7 splashes down, March 12, 2024. Screengrab.

Just 27 minutes later at 6:14 am ET, their capsule, with the astronauts still inside, was brought aboard SpaceX’s recovery vessel Megan. Crew Dragon Endurance looked like a toasted marshmallow as these reusable capsules always do after experiencing the heat of reentry. This was Endurance’s third long duration trip to the ISS. SpaceX’s Benji Reed said at a post-splashdown media teleconference that Endurance has been “in space for longer than any crew-rated vehicle in history, 534 days,” longer than any of NASA’s space shuttles.

Crew Dragon Endurance lifted onto SpaceX’s recovery vessel Megan, March 12, 2024. Screengrab.

The crew spent 199 days in space, 197 aboard the ISS conducting hundreds of experiments and maintaining the space station. They undocked yesterday, March 11, at 11:20 am ET.

Crew-7 poses inside the vestibule between Crew Dragon Endurance and the ISS Harmony module, March 4, 2024. L-R: Konstantin Borisov (Roscosmos), Andreas Mogensen (ESA), Jasmin Moghbeli (NASA), Satoshi Furukawa (JAXA). Credit: NASA

The ISS has been permanently occupied by international crews rotating on roughly 4-6 month schedules for more than 23 years, since November 2, 2000. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft have ferried crews to and from ISS since 2020.

The International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Crew 7’s replacements on Crew-8 arrived last week, joining NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who are coming and going on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Kononenko and Chub are staying for a year-long mission. O’Hara will be replaced by NASA’s Tracy Dyson who will launch on Soyuz MS-25 on March 21 with Russian commander Oleg Novitskiy and Belarussian spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya. The latter two will return to Earth with O’Hara on April 2.

ISS is permanently staffed by seven international crew members with other astronauts and cosmonauts visiting for shorter periods of time.

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