Crew-4 astronauts return to Earth after six-month spaceflight
Crew Dragon Freedom has returned to Earth with four astronauts after nearly six months at the International Space Station.
The SpaceX capsule splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 4:55 p.m. EDT (20:00 UTC) Oct. 14, 2022. Less than an hour later its four occupants — NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti — were safely aboard the recovery vessel.
Known as Crew-4, this was the fourth crew rotation mission performed by SpaceX for NASA under the Commercial Crew Program. It began April 27 with a launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The four astronauts spent six months aboard the International Space Station as part of Expeditions 67 and 68, primarily with three cosmonauts that launched separately in a Soyuz spacecraft.
Over the course of their stay, the astronauts worked on dozens of science experiments while performing maintenance on the orbiting laboratory.
When it was time to come home, the Crew-4 astronauts undocked with Freedom at 12:05 p.m. EDT (16:05 UTC) Oct. 14, their splashdown coming several hours later.
This was the first flight of Crew Dragon Freedom. It was the last of four planned crewed spacecraft in SpaceX’s Dragon fleet. Each is designed to be used at least five times.
Overall, this was the completion of SpaceX’s seventh human spaceflight with an eighth — Crew-5 — currently in progress at the International Space Station.
Video courtesy of NASA
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.