NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 Returns From ISS

The crew’s successful splashdown Tuesday marks NASA’s seventh commercial crew rotation.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov (from left), European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa are seen inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft on board the SpaceX recovery ship Megan shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Tuesday, March 12. [Courtesy: NASA]

NASA's SpaceX Crew-7—the space agency's seventh crewed mission ferried by a private company to the International Space Station (ISS)—has returned to Earth after more than six months aboard the outpost.

Shortly before 6 a.m. EDT Tuesday, the crew splashed down in a SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, nearly 19 hours after it autonomously undocked from the ISS. The astronauts were retrieved by the company's recovery vessels, NASA said.

NASA astronaut and Crew-7 Commander Jasmin Moghbeli poses in the first moments the Crew-7 quartet is on board the International Space Station after the hatch opening on August 27, 2023. [Courtesy: NASA]

The Crew-7 mission launched August 26 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On board were astronauts from four different countries and three continents: NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos’ Konstantin Borisov.

"After more than six months aboard the International Space Station, NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 has safely returned home," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. "This international crew showed that space unites us all. It's clear that we can do more—we can learn more—when we work together. The science experiments conducted during their time in space will help prepare for NASA's bold missions at the moon, Mars, and beyond, all while benefiting humanity here on Earth."

Following its liftoff, the crew traveled 84,434,094 miles during the mission, spent 197 days aboard the space station, and completed 3,184 orbits of Earth, according to NASA.

Crew-7's return marks the latest milestone for NASA's commercial crew program and comes a week after the successful SpaceX launch of three NASA astronauts and a Roscosmos cosmonaut to ISS as a crew rotation.

The Dragon spacecraft, which has supported two other ISS crew rotations, will be returned to Florida for inspection and refurbishment at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to ready it for its next flight, NASA said.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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