Four astronauts have successfully returned home to Earth on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, ending their six-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS), according to The Verge.
On board the Crew Dragon were three NASA astronauts — Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron — as well as German astronaut Matthias Maurer with the European Space Agency. The astronauts, part of a mission called Crew-3, launched to space in the same Crew Dragon back in November. Since docking with the ISS, they’ve been living and working on the orbiting lab, conducting science experiments and maintaining the station through spacewalks.
And… splashdown! Dragon has safely made it home with precious cargo aboard: four #Crew3 astronauts!
— NASA (@NASA) May 6, 2022
The stay of Crew-3 astronauts in space was quite stressful. Shortly after they arrived on the ISS, Russia destroyed one of its satellites with a surface-to-air missile, creating a cloud of debris that initially threatened the integrity of the space station. Immediately after the destruction of the satellite, astronauts Crew-3 and Russian astronauts aboard the ISS had to hide inside their spacecraft in case the debris damaged the space station and they needed to escape quickly. Fortunately for the people at the station, the debris did not damage the ISS, and the crew was able to return to a normal work schedule.
Now that Crew-3 has returned safely to Earth, the next mission of SpaceX and NASA will begin in earnest. On April 27, three NASA astronauts and one Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency launched into the ISS on another Crew Dragon, which is part of the SpaceX Crew-4 mission. Crew-3 astronauts were on board to greet them and help familiarize them with the ISS. Crew-4 astronauts are scheduled to remain on the ISS until the fall.