Updated: Oct 25, 2022
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts aboard Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down on Friday at Florida's coast after the agency's fourth mission to the International Space Station. The international crew of four spent 170 days in orbit.
At 4:55 p.m. EDT, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti made their way down to Earth by parachute-assisted splashdown. The spacecraft and astronauts were retrieved by crews using SpaceX recovery vessels. All astronauts will take a flight to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston after reaching land. After that, Cristoforetti will fly to Europe.
“Welcome home Crew-4! This international crew has spent nearly six months on the International Space Station conducting science for the benefit of all. Their work aboard the orbiting laboratory will help prepare future explorers for future space missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Working and living on the space station is the opportunity of a lifetime, but it also requires these explorers to make sacrifices, especially time away from loved ones. Kjell, Bob, Jessica and Samantha, thank you for your contributions over the past six months to science, innovation, and discovery!"
At 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, the Crew-4 mission was launched from Florida's NASA Kennedy Space Center aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon anchored to the Harmony module's space-facing port less than 16 hours later. At 12:05 pm on Friday, the astronauts disembarked from the same port to start their journey back to Earth.
During their mission, Hines, Lindgren, Watkins, and Cristoforetti covered 72,168,935 miles, stayed on the space station for 170 days, and made 2,720 orbits of the planet.
With the conclusion of their trip today, Cristoforetti will have spent 369 days in space over the course of her two flights, moving her up to second place on the all-time chart for the most days spent in space by a woman. Lindgren had spent 311 days in orbit during his two flights. The Crew-4 mission was the first spaceflight for Hines and Watkins.
Throughout their mission, the Crew-4 astronauts indulged various science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. To perform station maintenance and upgrades, Cristoforetti completed two spacewalks with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
Members Of The Crew 4
Crew-4 carried on with its investigations into how changes to the space diet impact immune system and gut microbiome health, how fuel temperature affects flammability of a substance, potential harm to astronaut hearing from equipment noise and microgravity, and whether additives increase or decrease emulsion stability.
The astronauts also tested a revolutionary water-reclamation membrane, examined a concrete substitute derived from a substance found in lunar and Martian dust, and studied immune system alterations brought on by microgravity that are comparable to ageing.
The spacecraft, named Freedom by Crew-4, will return to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight.
The NASA Commercial Crew Program's Crew-4 flight took place immediately after NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 launch, which docked to the station on October 6 to start a new science mission.
The objective of NASA's Commercial Crew Program is to provide affordable, dependable, and safe access to and from the International Space Station.
This has already given researchers more time to conduct study and has raised the possibility of discovery aboard humanity's microgravity testbed for exploration, assisting NASA in preparing for manned missions to the Moon and Mars.