NASA and SpaceX are suspending the return of a Crew Dragon spacecraft by 3 days because of deficient weather projection in the splashdown location off the Florida coastline.
NASA announces late on 26th April that, in cooperation with SpaceX, it is suspending the return of the Crew-1 mission. The schedule to undock from the International Space Station was on 28th April and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico south of Tallahassee, Florida, later that day. NASA says projection of wind speeds in that zone will be “above the recovery benchmarks” for a secure landing.
The amendment of plan calls for the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft to undock from the station is at 5:55 p.m. Eastern on 30th April. It will stay in orbit for almost 18 hours after undocking, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 11:36 a.m. on 1st May 1.
The statement came some hours after the four Crew-1 astronauts namely:
- Mike Hopkins (NASA)
- Victor Glover (NASA)
- Shannon Walker (NASA)
- Soichi Noguchi (JAXA)
Hopkins is the commander of the spacecraft. He says, “the time that I had not received many details about the weather conditions prediction for landing ever since it was yet 48 hours out.
On 28th April he says, “Now is the time when the forecasts begin to get a little better, so we’re going away to see over the next 24 hours if we have a ‘go’ to start the series of events that would have us undocking on Wednesday.”
Crew-1 is the 2nd Crew Dragon operation to splash down with astronauts on board, after the Demo-2 operation in August 2020. Hopkins says he spoke with the Demo-2 astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Talks in order to get their insights on what the splashdown experience was like. That was particularly useful, he adds, as Demo-2 was the 1st NASA crewed mission. The operation ends in a splashdown ever since the final Apollo operation, for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in 1975.
On the return of Resilience, SpaceX renovates the spacecraft and organizes it for the Inspiration4 commercial operation, which has a schedule to launch in mid-September. Hopkins says he has not yet got an opportunity to speak to the 4 people who will fly on that assignment. He adds, “however, I suppose all of us would love to have that chance and chat with them about what it’s like in the interior Resilience moving uphill. Also, we will be able to tell them shortly here what it’s like arriving home as well.”