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The SpaceX capsule brings astronauts home

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A third long-term team of astronauts, launched by SpaceX on the International Space Station, has arrived in the Gulf of Mexico to complete months of research ranging from space-grown chili peppers to robots.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule with three U.S. NASA astronauts and a member of the European Space Agency crew from Germany parachuted into the calm sea in the dark on Friday after a 23-hour autonomous flight from the ISS.

The Endurance crew, which began its orbit on November 11, consisted of American space veteran Tom Marshburn, 61, and three astronauts who first arrived in space – 44-year-old Raja Chari from NASA and 34-year-old Kayla Barron and colleagues. with ESA Matthias Maurer. 52.

It was expected that the response teams to the explosion would take about an hour to reach the capsule, which is rolling in the water, lift it to the deck of the recovery ship and open the hatch to release the astronauts for their first breath of fresh air in almost six months. .

The return from orbit occurred after a fiery re-fall into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Two sets of parachutes opened over the capsule in the final stage of the descent, slowing its fall to about 24 km / h before the ship crashed into the water off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

The recently returned astronauts were officially designated as NASA’s “Commercial Crew 3,” the third full-fledged long-term team of four that SpaceX delivered to the space station under a contract with the U.S. Space Agency.

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, a billionaire and CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc, which recently struck a deal to buy Twitter, supplies Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules, which are now being launched into orbit by NASA astronauts.

The company oversees these flights and handles restorations, while NASA provides crews and launch vehicles at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and manages space station operations in the United States.

California-based SpaceX has launched seven human spaceflights in the past two years – five for NASA and two for private enterprises – as well as dozens of cargo and satellite-based missions since 2012.

In addition to regular maintenance in orbit about 400 km above the Earth, the astronauts have contributed to hundreds of scientific experiments and technology demonstrations.

Highlights included studies of genetic expression in cotton cells cultured in space, burning gas flames in microgravity, and the DNA sequence of bacteria at the station.

Crew members also tested new robotic devices, collected chili peppers grown in orbit, and conducted experiments in space physics and materials science.

Barron and Charmy have made a spacewalk to prepare the station for another in a series of new lightweight retractable solar panels that will eventually be used at the planned Gateway outpost that will revolve around the moon.

The return of Crew 3 comes about a week after they welcomed their replacement team, Crew 4, aboard the space station.

https://thewest.com.au/news/world/spacex-capsule-brings-astronauts-home-c-6703324

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