The Crew-1 Crew Dragon Resilience during an ISS port relocation.NASA
The ISS is a little crowded right now with a crew of 11 astronauts and cosmonauts on board. Four of them are scheduled to come home Saturday as SpaceX's Crew-1 wraps up its mission. NASA had originally been targeting Wednesday for the return journey, but pushed the date back to May 1 due to weather concerns at the splashdown site.
This will be the second time humans have returned to Earth on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, building on the success of the Demo-2 mission in 2020.
NASA TV will carry live coverage of the return starting at 12:30 p.m. PT on Friday with the hatch closure as the crew tucks into the Dragon capsule. Undocking coverage is set for 2:30 p.m. PT on Friday, and the splashdown is scheduled for 8:36 a.m. PT on Saturday, May 1.
There are seven possible targeted landings zones in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. NASA and SpaceX pick the final location based on Crew Dragon's orbital location, where the rescue teams are stationed and what the weather is doing back on Earth.
The Crew Dragon capsule, named Resilience, launched in November with NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker on board along with Soichi Noguchi of Japan's space agency, JAXA. All four will return this week if the schedule holds.
That will still leave one Crew Dragon docked to the ISS, as the Crew-2 mission arrived on the Endeavour spacecraft over the weekend. SpaceX is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which had the goal of bringing ISS launches back to US soil. So far, it's going well.
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