February 24, 2024

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The Ax-3 astronaut crew lands off Florida after storms delayed their return home

The Ax-3 astronaut crew lands off Florida after storms delayed their return home

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After spending an additional six days in space due to nearby stormy weather FloridaFirst of all-European The special astronaut mission returned to Earth early Friday morning.

The crew finally separated from the International Space Station on Wednesday morning, beginning the two-day journey back to Earth. It landed off the coast of Florida at approximately 8:30 a.m. EDT.

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The crew was originally scheduled to return home on Saturday, however SpaceX announced The four-person crew will spend additional days in space Due to bad weather this week In the recovery zone off Florida.

SpaceX can recover the Crew Dragon spacecraft and its crew from seven potential landing sites off the coasts of Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. However, wave height, wind and rain must meet NASA's recovery standards for the safe return and recovery of the Dragon spacecraft.

After days of weather delays, a storm system caused problems for the Ax-3's return, causing it to move up the East Coast, paving the way for the crew's departure.

After 20 days in space, the Dragon spacecraft propelled itself away from the station on Wednesday at 9:20 a.m. ET as it was over the South Pacific Ocean. Ocean.

“We hope you had a great time on station, and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces,” SpaceX Ground Control told the crew.

Weather is critical for a safe flight for the SpaceX DRAGON SPLASHDOWN crew

The Ax-3 crew spent two additional days in low gravity while Dragon orbited Earth, preparing to land off the coast of the United States. Daytona Beach, Florida, about 47.5 hours later. The time between departure from the ISS and Dragon's arrival at Earth depends on where the station is located in relation to the landing zone and weather conditions.

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The spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere at 17,500 miles per hour, using the parachute system to slow its speed to a few miles per hour before landing. Dragon then quietly fell into the ocean off the coast of Florida where NASA and SpaceX rescue teams were waiting.

While in orbit, the crew conducted more than 30 experiments in microgravity. Ax-3 experiment topics included biomedical research, sleep, bone health, space weather, and cooking pasta in space. With the additional days spent in space, the private astronauts conducted more research and spent time doing outreach events with their home countries.

This mission represents the first fully European manned spaceflight to the International Space Station with a crew from Italy, Turkey and Sweden. The spaceflight marks the second Axiom Space mission for Lopez Alegría, the company's chief astronaut and a former commander. NASA astronaut. He was also the commander of Axiom Space's inaugural mission to the International Space Station in April 2022.